2013 winner: Cristina Malaspina, The Spiral of Silence and Social Media: analysing Noelle-Neumann’s phenomenon application on the Web during the Italian Political Elections of 2013
Cristina Malaspina completed a MSc in Media and Communications at the LSE in 2013. She has achieved a Distinction in all modules of her Masters, including her dissertation, and has graduated with a Distinction grade overall. In her Dissertation, Cristina has chosen to investigate Noelle-Neumann’s phenomenon of the Spiral of Silence on social media and has analyzed the sharing patterns of social media users on political topics adopting human-generated content analysis and interviews. The findings of her research show that specific elements of the theory, such as social pressures and perception of the surrounding climate of opinion, also influence the communicative behaviour of Web 2.0 users. In the specific Italian political context, features such as channel nature and as user anonymity may affect the degree of sharing of political ideas in the online world.