'It’'s Trending on Twitter' - An Analysis of the Twitter Manipulations in the Massachusetts 2010 Special Senate Election

23 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 29 Aug 2012

See all articles by Marion R. Just

Marion R. Just

Wellesley College

Ann N. Crigler

University of Southern California - Department of Political Science and International Relations

Panagiotis Metaxas

Wellesley College - Computer Science

Eni Mustafaraj

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 23, 2012

Abstract

The 2010 Massachusetts Special Senate Election -- a precursor to the current high stakes congressional campaigns -- was characterized by millions of dollars in outside funding, an advertising blitz, out-of-state volunteers, Tea Party mobilization, volatile polling, and a broad social media campaign, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Poll results were triumphantly tweeted, blogged, and covered in news reports among homophilous groups. In addition, users attempted to influence trends, real time search and news coverage by enlisting other users to increase volume on Facebook and Twitter for favored candidates. In addition the conservative Patriot Action Network threatened liberal news coverage and liberal journalists with a Twitter spam and the America Future Fund sent a "Twitterbomb" framed as replies to users interested in the Senate race. Given these efforts, Our results show that reporters must be cautious in interpreting Twitter and other manipulable, motivated and opinionated media trends as a guide to public opinion.

Keywords: Twitter, social media, elections, campaigns, Massachusetts 2010 Special Senate Election

Suggested Citation

Just, Marion R. and Crigler, Ann N. and Metaxas, Panagiotis and Mustafaraj, Eni, 'It’'s Trending on Twitter' - An Analysis of the Twitter Manipulations in the Massachusetts 2010 Special Senate Election (August 23, 2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2108272

Marion R. Just (Contact Author)

Wellesley College ( email )

Pendleton East 244
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA Massachusetts 02481
United States
7812832206 (Phone)
7812832206 (Fax)

Ann N. Crigler

University of Southern California - Department of Political Science and International Relations ( email )

327 VonKleinSmid Center
University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0044
United States
213-740-8964 (Phone)

Panagiotis Metaxas

Wellesley College - Computer Science ( email )

Wellesley, MA 02181
United States
+7812833054 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://bit.ly/pmetaxas

Eni Mustafaraj

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
191
Abstract Views
1,447
rank
172,107
PlumX Metrics