Elite Tweets: Analyzing the Twitter Communication Patterns of Labour Party Peers in the House of Lord
Authors: Adi, A., Erickson, K. and Lilleker, D.
Journal: Policy & Internet
The microblogging platform Twitter has gained notoriety for its status as both a communication channel between private individuals and as a public forum monitored by journalists, the public, and the state. Its potential application for political communication has not gone unnoticed; politicians have used Twitter to attract voters, interact with constituencies and advance issue-based campaigns. This article reports findings from the research team's work with 21 peers sitting on the Labour frontbench. The researchers monitored and archived the peers' activity on Twitter for a period of 3 months between June and September 2012. Using a sample of 4,363 tweets and a mixed methodology combining semantic analysis, social network analysis, and quantitative analysis, this article explores the peers' patterns of usage and communication on Twitter. Key findings are that as a tweeting community their behavior is consistent with other communities. However, there is evidence that a coherent strategy is lacking in their coordinated use of the platform. Labour peers tend to work in small, clustered networks of self-interest as opposed to collectively to promote party policy.
Preferred by: Darren Lilleker