political candidate use of facebook
Keeping with my online political public relations program of research, this study (with my amazing colleague Dr. Ruthann Weaver Lariscy at UGA) looked at a social media tool new to the 2006 midterm elections.
Kaye D. Sweetser & Ruthann Weaver Lariscy. (2008). Candidates Make Good Friends: An Analysis of Candidates’ Uses of Facebook [pdf]. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 2, 175-198.
Through content analysis of Facebook wall comments in U.S. House and Senate races during the 2006 midterm election, this study describes young potential voters’ comments (quantity, valence, etc.) through the lens of the dialogic communication theory of public relations. Findings indicate that individuals who wrote on candidate walls perceive themselves on friendly terms with the candidates, overwhelmingly write messages that are shallow and supportive, and are positive in tone. Candidates rarely, if ever, respond to these messages; although the mere use of Facebook is a dialogic feature, researchers conclude campaigns are not using it for two-way symmetrical relationship building.