How Do Online Citizens Persuade Fellow Voters? Using Twitter During the 2012 Dutch Parliamentary Election Campaign

B. Dayican, Chintan Amrit Amrit, Kees Aarts, A. Dassen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    This article explores how Twitter was used by voters to participate in electoral campaigning during the Dutch election campaign of 2012. New social media networks like Twitter are believed to be efficient tools of communication between electoral candidates and voters during electoral campaign periods. Yet only few studies have been conducted so far to discover in what way the content of online discussions is being used for campaigning. In particular, there have been very few studies of electoral campaigning, which study the content of the social media messages sent by citizens. In order to understand the extent to which citizens utilize Twitter in different forms of electoral campaigning—that is, persuading followers about voting for a particular party or to conduct negative campaigning, we conducted an automated content analysis of a large corpus of tweets collected during the Dutch parliamentary election campaign of 2012. Our findings show that citizens participate significantly in online electoral campaigning on Twitter, whereas they differ from professional users in the style of campaigning. Persuasive campaigning is observed to a lesser extent among citizens than among politicians, while citizens more commonly use negative campaigning. Moreover, qualitative content analysis of campaigning tweets by citizens has revealed that expressions of emotions and opinions make up a large majority of negative tweets, indicating that citizens regard Twitter more as an outlet for expressing discontent than as a medium for negative campaigning
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-152
    JournalSocial science computer review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2014


    • METIS-306455
    • IR-92565


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