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.

3 Responses so far.

  1. Chris Paine says:

    Hey, while I know that the academic rewards structure isn’t agreeable to such things, either you or Deborah or may both of you should put the results of all the blog research into a book for general public consumption with both the theoretical and practical stuff in it.

  2. It’s great to see academic research in social media that examines a medium other than blogs. I’m looking forward to reading your article. Congrats on getting it published!

  3. Your blog is very useful to communication students. I teach development communication and I’m positive that many students in Asia will benefit from your research results and thoughts on social media. Can I feature you in my blog (http://devcompage.com) so that many students and teachers will learn cutting edge stuff? I will wait for your go-ahead.

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