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To Tweet or not to Tweet? An analysis of Twitter use during the 2014 Belgian elections

Stéphanie De Munter, Philippe De Vries

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Social media, and Twitter in particular, are playing an increasing role in the day-to-day activities of politicians (Weber Shandwick, 2014). Before the digital revolution, the relationship between the politician and the voter was intermediated by journalists and broadcast media. In contrast to traditional media, social media are presumed to enable politicians to engage directly with the electorate (Kruikemeier, Van Noort, Vliegenthart & De Vreese, 2015). In the last decade, there was a growing interest in the role of social media in election campaigns, triggered by Barack Obama’s electoral presidential election victory in 2008 and more recently by Donald Trumps’ triumph in 2016 (Rodriguez-Andres, 2018). The research presented in this article answers three main questions. First, who are the politicians using Twitter for campaigning purposes and what variables can predict Twitter use? Second, when do Belgian politicians use it and with which frequency? And third: do tweeting politicians perform better at the ballot box? The main findings reveal that a Flemish candidate has a higher probability of 18,7% to be present on Twitter compared to a candidate from the French community. Another important finding is that there is no significant association between the number of tweets and number of preferential votes, although a trend towards significance was observed for Flemish politicians.

Keywords: Twitter, social media, elections, Belgium, political communication


Bibliography: De Munter, Stéphanie/De Vries, Philippe: To Tweet or not to Tweet? An analysis of Twitter use during the 2014 Belgian elections, PCS – Politics, Culture and Socialization, 1+2-2017, pp. 107-123.