Who Tweets about Politics? - Political Participation of Twitter Users During the 2011 Gubernatorial Elections
Forthcoming in Social Science Computer Review
37 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 4 Jul 2014
Date Written: 2012
We employ an original survey of Twitter users to determine who participates in politics on Twitter. Under the backdrop of the 2011 gubernatorial elections in four states, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia, we observe citizens engaging in the electoral process while using one of the most popular social media tools. After the elections were called, in typical Twitter fashion, we tweeted 1,448 politically-minded users and asked them to respond to our online survey about their Twitter usage. Over 20% responded!
This study answers two key questions for scholars interested in political behavior on the Internet. First, who participates in electoral politics on Twitter? Are they the usual suspects or does Twitter bring typically marginalized groups into the process? The results demonstrate that young people and minorities are engaging in gubernatorial politics to a certain extent, but on Twitter highly partisan and politically engaged citizens appear to dominate the social media outlet.
Keywords: twitter, internet, social media, political, participation, parties, gubernatorial, campaign, election, behavior
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