How Constituents Lobby Members of Congress on Twitter
15 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2013
Political speech occurs on social media with increasing frequency and attention. We present a large-scale analysis of a specific type of political speech - citizens lobbying elected officials - and explain how citizens use varied and complex rhetorical and linguistic strategies to effect political outcomes through social media. We collected over 30,000 tweets aimed at members of the U.S. Congress and containing hashtags that refer to legislation about immigration, the federal budget, internet freedom, and gun control. Using Aristotelian notions of deliberative rhetoric and recent developments in speech-act theory to frame our discussion, we analyze various lobbying strategies evident in tweets. We also discuss the use of automated text classification algorithms for classifying political speech in social media.
Keywords: Twitter, Congress, automated text classification, machine learning, rhetoric, linguistics, speech acts
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