… can also speak about a particular e-networking, a communicative strategy that permits to find, consolidate, and expand the followers’ community who, in the course of time, offer political support for certain candidates. Nowadays it is rather difficult to differentiate between the real and the virtual. One can suggest that your followers on Twitter or friends on vKontakte will turn into your strong supporters and volunteers in political campaigning in real life. It will probably be the greatest impact of social media on future political developments. The research also reveals that it is rather difficult to run for the Main Office without the Internet. Candidates who practically had not used the web came last in the presidential race. Additionally, the results reveal the influence of local context on political communication on the web manifesting in deepening Digital Divide between the developed and the CIS countries as to the access to the broadband Internet connection especially in non-urban areas. One can speak about the increasing influence of personal candidate-centred online campaigning when the leader’s charisma off- and online influences the election results greatly, as Yulia Tymoshenko’s political campaign shows. Of course, she lost the presidential race but with a minimum gap to Victor Yanukovych. The research also reveals one of the greatest threats for Politics 2.0. It is the problem of clones and fake accounts by political leaders existing on the Net, see “Вся правда про Твiтер Яценюка” (http://watcher.com.ua/?p=1486). One can recommend providing special links from officially registered sites affiliated with certain parties or politicians to their registered accounts on social media. It would be one of the tools of protecting virtual political existence on the web. The increasing impact of e-networking on Politics 2.0 supports greatly the effectiveness of election campaign offline. Online communities let people not only support the candidate, but also be active in their support – becoming “an extension of the political process beyond the candidate” as Cone delineates (Cone 2010). The findings present some new tendencies of Politics 2.0 as part of a larger national media spectrum. However, new media and digital technologies advance rather quickly and the constant monitoring of political web on a regular base at a national level is needed to understand how these new media shape our public sphere. From a methodological point of view, the cyber-society requires a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods, that would further look into the imbrications of different media forms and forms of political communication, examine people’s relationship with various expression and information media and observe the reshaping of the traditional statuses and roles in various environments – electronic versions of newspapers, political blogs and forums, social networks and mash-up media, etc. “Finally, another step further will be to refine and expand the research questions, develop and adapt valid but also innovative methodological tools that have been proven useful in other social and political settings and draw fruitful theoretical and empirical comparisons about different new media landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe”, as M. Barbovschi argues (Barbovschi 2008: 13). At the beginning it was Politics 1.0, currently Politics 2.0 appears. What will come next? Will the term Politics 3.0 be coined in the nearest future?
Summary of the 17 January and 7 February 2010 Ukrainian Presidential Election Results