Wave-Riding and Hashtag-Jumping: Twitter, Minority ‘Third Parties’ and the 2012 US Elections

Christian Christensen

Abstract


With the description of the 2012 election as the “most tweeted’ political event in US history in mind, considering the relative media invisibility of so-called “third party’ presidential candidates in the US election process, and utilizing an understanding of re-tweeting as conversational practice, the purpose of this paper is to examine the use of Twitter by the main “third party’ US presidential candidates in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election in order to better understand (1) the volume of tweets produced by the candidates; (2) the level of interaction by followers in the form of re-tweeting; and, (3), the subject/content of the tweets most re-tweeted by followers. The ultimate goal of the paper is to generate a broader picture of how Twitter was utilized by minority party candidates, as well as identifying the issues which led followers (and their respective followers) to engage in the “conversational’ act of re-tweeting.

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