The relationship between the virtual and real success of BiH parties
Keywords:Internet, Facebook, mass media, public opinion, political parties, social media
Politicians from the Western Balkan region are seeing the advantages of the Internet more and more for their presentation and overall success in politics, especially the usage of social networks. We researched the participation of political parties in the House of Peoples of BiH (in the mandates 2014-2018 and 2018-2022) and the number of seats won by parties along with popularity on social networks - Facebook as a representative example of online / virtual presentation of each political party. Research has shown inconsistencies with the popularity of political parties “online” with their actual success - winning a certain amount of delegates in the state parliament. Overall, when it comes to traditional, larger parties that voters choose the most (such as SDA, SNSD, and partially HDZ / 2014-2018 and 2018-2022), virtual and actual results are approximate, while “a huge gap between two worlds” applies for the rest. Political parties that are most represented on the Internet, are actually least represented in the Parliament. At the same time, lousy Internet results for a few parties are resulting in “big cake” in the House of Peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina. When politicians address voters through a TV spot, their marketing teams cannot choose exactly when they want to consume content. The Internet, and especially social networks, have the opportunity that today is the “alpha and omega” of all promotional actions. However, these new opportunities for domestic politics are closed! Why? Because domestic politicians have not yet understood / accepted the new fact that they can not only broadcast but also need to make their products available to recipients. In BiH, there’s currently only “political communication using the Internet” topic rather than “networked political communication” one. Interactive possibilities of the Internet have been limited to the ones of old mass media, which have been distancing the individual from the public sphere over the decades, making him/her a mere consumer of the mass culture product and an observer of the political events. The Internet is still partially seen as classic or mass media in the political communication of BiH. The audience doesn’t have a chance for systematically arranged interaction, but it’s primarily focused on one-way communication. In the meantime, politicians are accessing the Internet as just another option from the list, not seeing a new fact - not only that they can broadcast, but they need to make their products available to the recipients at the same time.