Characterizing Political Talk on Twitter: A Comparison Between Public Agenda, Media Agendas, and the Twitter Agenda with Regard to Topics and Dynamics

AbstractSocial media platforms, especially Twitter, have become a ubiquitous element in political campaigns. Although politicians, journalists, and the public increasingly take to the service, we know little about the determinants and dynamics of political talk on Twitter. We examine Twitter’s issue agenda based on popular hashtags used in messages referring to politics. We compare this Twitter agenda with the public agenda measured by a representative survey and the agendas of newspapers and television news programs captured by content analysis. We show that the Twitter agenda had little, if any, relationship with the public agenda. Political talk on Twitter was somewhat stronger connected with mass media coverage, albeit following channel-specific patterns most likely determined by the attention, interests, and motivations of Twitter users.


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