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Public Officials and Social Media talks at MPSA

Next week the Midwest Political Science Association meets in Chicago, and I’ll be presenting two papers. Here’s my schedule (locations TBD), abstracts after the jump:

Thursday, April 12, 8:30am

Social Media and Other Web-based Networks

Doing What I Say: Connecting Congressional Social Media Behavior and Congressional Voting

Friday, April 13, 10:25am

State, Urban and Local Political Networks

Chicago Politicians on Twitter

Doing What I Say: Connecting Congressional Social Media Behavior and Congressional Voting (talk slides)

Public officials’ communication has been explored at length in terms of how such their statements are conveyed in the traditional media, but minimal research has been done to examine their communication via social media. This paper explores the kinds of statements U.S. officials are making on Twitter in terms of the actions they are trying to achieve. We then analyze the correlation between these statements, Congressional communication network structures, and voting behavior. Our analysis leverages over 29,000 tweets by members of Congress in conjunction with existing DW-NOMINATE voting behavior data. We find that pro-social and self-promoting statements correlate with Congressional voting records but that position within the Congressional communication network does not correlate with voting behavior.

Chicago Politicians on Twitter (talk slides)

This paper uses data from 1,042 tweets posted by or mentioning Chicago Aldermen or Mayor Rahm Emanuel to examine how Chicago politicians use social media. Twitter provides a public communication medium in which constituents and their representatives can have two-way conversations that others can witness and record, and we used qualitative and social network methods to examine conversations between Chicagoans and representatives in city government. We coded the contents of each tweet over the two-week time period (e.g., official business, fundraising) and created representations of the social networks created by the users’ following behaviors. These networks indicate who receives politicians’ tweets and help identify the audiences for political messaging in social media. Our analysis indicates that Chicago’s Aldermen and Mayor use Twitter for social conversations more often than political ones, and that only a small number of Aldermen dominate the resulting conversation networks.


So, what do you think ?

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