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Framing in Social Media: How the US Congress Uses Twitter Hashtags to Frame Political Issues

30 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2013  

Libby Hemphill

Illinois Institute of Technology

Aron Culotta

Illinois Institute of Technology

Matthew Heston

Illinois Institute of Technology - Department of Humanities

Date Written: August 28, 2013

Abstract

Social media offers politicians an opportunity to bypass traditional media and directly influence their audience's opinions and behavior through framing. Using data from Twitter about how members of the U.S. Congress use hashtags, we examine to what extent politicians participate in framing, which issues received the most framing efforts, and which politicians exhibited the highest rates of framing. We find that politicians actively use social media to frame issues by choosing both topics to discuss and specific hashtags within topics, and that recognizably divisive issues receive the most framing efforts. Finally, we find that voting patterns generally align with tweeting patterns; however, several notable exceptions suggest our methodology can provide a more nuanced picture of Congress than voting records alone.

Keywords: media effects, framing, social media, political communication, Twitter, politicians

Suggested Citation

Hemphill, Libby and Culotta, Aron and Heston, Matthew, Framing in Social Media: How the US Congress Uses Twitter Hashtags to Frame Political Issues (August 28, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2317335 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2317335

Libby Hemphill (Contact Author)

Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

3301 S Dearborn St
Suite 218
Chicago, IL 60616
United States

Aron Culotta

Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

3301 S. Federal
Chicago, IL 60616
United States

Matthew Heston

Illinois Institute of Technology - Department of Humanities ( email )

3301 S Dearborn St
Suite 218
Chicago, IL 60616
United States

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