Abstract: In the contemporary converged media environment, agenda setting is being transformed by the dramatic growth of audiences that are simultaneously media users and producers. The study reported here addresses related gaps in the literature by first comparing the topical agendas of two leading traditional media outlets (New York Times and CNN) with the most frequently shared stories and trending topics on two widely popular Social Networking Sites (Facebook and Twitter). Time-series analyses of the most prominent topics identify the extent to which traditional media sets the agenda for social media as well as reciprocal agenda-setting effects of social media topics entering traditional media agendas. In addition, this study examines social intermedia agenda setting topically and across time within social networking sites, and in so doing, adds a vital understanding of where traditional media, online uses, and social media content intersect around instances of focusing events, particularly elections. Findings identify core differences between certain traditional and social media agendas, but also within social media agendas that extend from uses examined here. Additional results further suggest important topical and event-oriented limitations upon the predictive capacit of social networking sites to shape traditional media agendas over time.
Keywords: election coverage; focusing events; Granger causality; intermedia agenda setting; social media