There is no doubt that social media has become a relevant political communication channel in the last few decades, e.g. during periodic elections. Because of this tool, political news is not only produced by journalists. Political actors produce and receive information, and many of them become influencers of the communication process and increasingly have their own strategies to communicate with voters and influence public opinion. Voters have more forms of participation at their disposal in the digital communication age. The change of the message flow has an impact on the communication of politics, as well as the attitudes of political decision makers and political institutions. In some countries, print media have already received considerably less attention as a political news source than social media. But political actors have started to intensively use social media for their own purposes, especially for mobilizing voters. But the downside of this way of political communication is that the political actors’ ability to handle the dilemmas of modern democracy is decreasing. Contradictions in political communication may also arise in the digital age, inducing, e.g. fake news, the escalation of social and political movements, political vandalism, violent political demonstrations, etc.
Another aspect to be considered is the algorithmic design of social media platforms that influence interactions in the virtual space. What we don’t know much about in this regard is: what is the likelihood that political actors and political institutions (e.g. political parties) will, due to the growing influence of social media, increase contradictions and dilemmas in political communication? Answering this question would make it possible to identify those aspects of political communication which should be reviewed in political communication within the digital communication age.
The digital society has expanded the range of information being offered beyond conventional mass media, and digital transmission has led to an abundance of information in the online space. In my recent study (Wüthrich, 2017), I summarized the tendency toward pleasantness and the striving for credibility in journalism at the same time. This communication society dilemma motivates communication science to discuss the actual architectural and algorithmic designs of media. The possibilities of online communication broaden participation in public communication processes, and thus, normativity is also required.