Going 'Bald on Record': Relationships among Public Officials' Social Media Behavior and Language Use

Posted: 20 May 2017

See all articles by Libby Hemphill

Libby Hemphill

University of Michigan

Jahna Otterbacher

Illinois Institute of Technology

Matthew A. Shapiro

Illinois Institute of Technology; American Political Science Association (APSA)

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

How public officials communicate with their constituents and the public as a whole has been explored in terms of the traditional media, but research on their communication via social media has been, at best, largely descriptive and, at worst, unreliable for its lack of rigor. This paper assesses connections between Members of Congress’s communication strategies and voting behaviors. Additionally, at an exploratory level, it examines how using different communication tactics via social media impacts the size of one’s audience. Using the largest sample to date of Twitter-based statements (30,373) by all “tweeting” members of congress (380), our results show significant party, gender, and congressional chamber-based differences in both communication strategy and voting patterns. We also confirm that this strategy is paying off for House Republicans, who enjoy larger audiences on Twitter relative to their peers.

Keywords: twitter, congress, political communication

Suggested Citation

Hemphill, Libby and Otterbacher, Jahna and Shapiro, Matthew A., Going 'Bald on Record': Relationships among Public Officials' Social Media Behavior and Language Use (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2108684

Libby Hemphill (Contact Author)

University of Michigan ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Jahna Otterbacher

Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

Matthew A. Shapiro

Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

Department of Social Sciences
3301 S Dearborn St, SH 116
Chicago, IL 60616
United States

American Political Science Association (APSA) ( email )

1527 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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