Discursive patterns among members of The Danish Parliament on Snapchat: Fun, Family and Fitness

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Seven years ago, the social media platform Snapchat was introduced. In Denmark, Snapchat is the fastest growing platform with around 1.2 million users per month. During its first years, Snapchat has mostly been applied to digital conversations between private persons, typically close friends. Primarily teenagers have jumped into play with this new media platform. Then mothers have followed their children onto the platform (Kosoff 2015). And recently, the members of the Danish Parliament have entered Snapchat, as well.

             During the months of April and May 2017, I collected all snap stories from the snapchatting Parliament members. Thirteen individual politicians from five different parties and three political parties were on Snapchat at that time. The data collection contains a total of 212 snap stories. Almost half of the stories (102) came from the same politician, namely the party chairwoman Pia Olsen Dyhr from The Socialist People’s Party, whereas 39 snapchat messages came from the alderwoman and member of Parliament, Laura Lindahl (Liberal Alliance) and 19 snaps came from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Anders Samuelsen (Liberal Alliance). The remaining members of the Danish Parliament were snapping less frequently, several of them not at all during the two months. Among the three political parties with an official institutional snapchat account, The Social Liberal Party created 35 Snapchat messages during the period; The Alternative created 14 snaps, and The Social Democratic Party created none.

             The analysis draws on Computer Mediated Discourse Analysis (CMDA) introduced by Herring (1996) and on the further development Visual narrative discourse theory by Bateman & Wildfeuer (2014). Moreover, I include the concept of Affordances (Gibson 1977) to investigate the MP’s use of the application.

        The analytical focus is on “how, when and what”. The politicians snap at all times of the day, on week days and during the weekend. They snap about different themes, such as fun, family, and fitness. Work-related content is mixed with more private content. Moreover, the politicians snap from political meetings, debates in Parliament as well as from family birthdays and visits to the fitness center. From a conversational point of view, the snap story is open and closed at the same time. Open because anyone on Snapchat can access the stories and closed because you cannot search for or recover the content. Fifteen snap stories are part of a longer snap narrative, consisting of several snaps (between two and 17). These narratives are multimodal with a combination of photos, sound and traditional text including emojis and stickers.

             The usage of the snap chat story by the Danish MPs is something unprecedented because it changes the sense of the general public’s proximity to the politicians. In my presentation, I point to an important question regarding the importance of a digital democratic conversation between the politicians and the citizens based on the analysis of these new snap stories.


Bateman, J. A., & Wildfeuer, J. (2014). A multimodal discourse theory of visual narrative. Journal of Pragmatics, 74, 180-208.

Gibson, J. J. (1977). The theory of affordances. Perceiving, acting and knowing: Toward an ecological psychology. In R. Shaw & J. Bransford (Eds.). 67-82. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Herring, S. C. (1996). Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Kosoff, M. (2015). Two dozen millennials explain why they're obsessed with Snapchat and how they use it. Business Insider.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date1. Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1. Nov 2018
Event4rd International Conference of the American Pragmatics Association - Albany University, New York, United States
Duration: 1. Nov 20183. Nov 2018
Conference number: 4


Conference4rd International Conference of the American Pragmatics Association
LocationAlbany University
CountryUnited States
CityNew York

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