Evaluating Military Use of Social Media for Political Branding during Online Firestorms: An Analysis of the Afghan Troops Withdrawal

Temple Uwalaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates how the US and Australian Departments of Defence used social media platforms for branding, perception management and to curb online firestorms as well as how their citizens reacted to these political branding techniques during the Afghan troops’ withdrawal and evacuations. The study analyzed 11,460 tweets and replies from the US and Australian DoDs. Results show that the US and Australian DoDs strategically used their tweets to communicate professionalism, military efficiency and exceptionalism, information and clarification, duty, commendation, commiseration, and support for mental health. Findings further demonstrate that there was a significant association between the US and Australian DoDs’ counterinformation (inoculations) and tweets approving of both the withdrawal and evacuations. The study uncovers that the branding efforts of the US and Australian DoDs during the Afghan withdrawal and evacuations were successful as their high reservoir of trust moderated the short- and long-term effects of the online firestorm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Political Marketing
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jun 2023

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