One does not simply tweet without consequence: a study of the electoral contest in Ashgrove

by Frances Manfield

Institution: University of Queensland
Department: School of Communication and Arts
Year: 2015
Keywords: Twitter; Influence; Political campaigns; Social media; Leximancer; Discursis
Record ID: 1072574
Full text PDF: http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:354631


Twitter is now a fixture of society, an online meeting place for people to air their grievances about human rights and civil liberty, discuss global warming, stalk celebrities and show off their cats. An unedited forum of comments that is a gold mine of free data for those who seek to monitor opinions on everything from mobile phone providers to voting preferences. It is now unusual for modern political candidates not to sustain a social media presence during their campaign in order to connect with their constituency. This study examines Twitter use by candidates in a single electorate—the seat of Ashgrove—during an election campaign in the Australian state of Queensland in March 2012. In particular, it looks at how Twitter user groups drive concept discussions around themes and concepts within the campaign, thereby exerting influence within the domain as part of the election process. Using a theory building approach, the data set made up of 35,000 tweets was analysed using text analytics software to reveal how Twitter can be used as a feedback mechanism for candidates, how user groups drive concept discussions on Twitter, the role of legacy media within this framework, and how the language of Twitter is a unique genre of communication.