Social media are said to have the potential to transform relationships between political parties, candidates, and citizens. This chapter is a study of social media use at different levels in the 2010 United Kingdom general election to see to what extent that potential is realized. The research compares the use of Twitter by the national level of the campaign, composed of the three major parties, and their leaders, as well as the campaigns of the three major parties across the nine electoral districts in England's second city, Birmingham. It examines the candidates and parties’ that various informational and engagement strategies at the national and Birmingham levels of the campaign with respect to their campaign functions. The analysis is carried out using natural language processing to computerize the content analysis. The findings reveal that social media are used at both levels, primarily for the undirectional transfer of information rather than for engagement. However, at the Birmingham level of the campaign there appears to be significantly greater emphasis on the creation of personal connections between candidates and the public than at the national level of the campaign. This suggests that lower profile candidates use social media in a compensatory manner, offsetting their limited media coverage which voters typically rely on in getting to know the candidates.
|Title of host publication||The Internet and Democracy in Global Perspective|
|Editors||Bernard Grofman, Alexander H Trechsel, Mark Franklin|
|Place of Publication||Cham, Switzerland|
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Name||Studies in Public Choice|