'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
Date Written: August 23, 2012
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: Suggested Citation