The Swiss Armed Forces (SAF) as part of a democratic political system depend on societal legitimacy of the organization and its mandates. Legitimacy is generated by complying with binding principles and by societal acceptance. It is about political transparence and participation. In public the SAF and their mandates become visible, they can be controlled and legitimated by the citizens, as part of a deliberative discussion. Political decisions are communicatively negotiated, arguments and information get compared, and verified by reasonableness. Social media provide a new way to communicate and interact directly with the citizens. The official SAF social media communication starts a dialogue with them. At its best the SAF will become more transparent and social media communication may increase confidence, legitimacy and societal support. Digital communication enables follow-up discussions face to face, but online as well. Organizations such as the SAF can communicate directly via social media. At the same time, a majority of the Swiss people consumes news and information about the SAF via traditional mass media. Therefore the Military Academy at the ETH Zurich is conducting a quantitative content analysis of both information streams and seeks to identify structural differences and communication effects in the follow-up online discussions to direct and indirect communication of and about the SAF. Thus it analyzes official SAF social media communication and the follow-up online discussions and compares the results with the analysis of selected news sites coverage and their follow-up online discussions.
Deliberation, Social Media, Content Analysis, Echo Chamber
Research Assistant, Military Sociology, Military Academy (MILAC) at ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Eva Moehlecke De Baseggio
Project Manager Military Sociology, Military Academy (MILAC) at ETH Zurich, Switzerland