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Politics and the Twitter Revolution

Politics and the Twitter Revolution: How Tweets Influence the Relationship between Political Leaders and the Public, by John H. Parmelee and Shannon L. Bichard, is the first comprehensive examination of political Twitter use. Multiple methods and theories reveal why political leaders are followed, the persuasive power of political tweets, Twitter's effects on political polarization, and the significance of Twitter as a political innovation. Parmelee and Bichard's findings show Twitter has caused major changes in how people engage politically. Leaders' tweets are quite influential on followers despite followers and leaders having different expectations of how to use Twitter.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Chapter One: Introduction: The Importance of Twitter in Politics Chapter Two: Why People Use Twitter for Politics: The Uses and Gratifications of Following Political Leaders' Tweets Chapter Three: The Impact of Political Tweets When Used as Word-of-Mouth Communication Chapter Four: Is Following Political Leaders Good for Democracy? Examining Political Twitter Use, Selective Exposure, and Selective Avoidance Chapter Five: In their Own Words: Exploring the Roles and Value of Political Twitter Use in Followers' Lives Chapter Six: Tweets on the Campaign Trail: An Analysis of Frames Used in 2010 Campaign Tweets Conclusion: How Twitter Influences the Relationship between Political Leaders and the Public Bibliography Index About the Authors

About the Author

John H. Parmelee is associate professor of communication at the University of North Florida. Shannon L. Bichard is associate professor in the College of Mass Communications at Texas Tech University.


Twitter has taken the political world by storm, and it's changing the way candidates campaign and voters learn about politics. This groundbreaking book by John Parmelee and Shannon Bichard shows us how it's being done and why it matters. Must reading for anyone for wants to understand the power of new social media. -- Larry J. Sabato, director, University of Virginia Center for Politics It may seem odd to say that a book examining the political uses of a technology that has only existed for five years is long overdue, [but] Politics and the Twitter Revolution was definitely worth the wait. The authors effectively couple survey research, content analysis, and frame analysis with in-depth interviews to explore what motivates individuals to follow political leaders on Twitter, what they see as its benefits and drawbacks as well as how Twitter affects them. The study also effectively critiques how politicians employ Twitter. This is a comprehensive and insightful look at Twitter politics. -- Tom Johnson, University of Texas, Austin Politics and the Twitter Revolution breaks new ground in analyzing one of the newest, most common, and most misunderstood online social media venues and its role in American politics. Parmelee and Bichard's book will inform many readers, from political staffers asking 'How can we use Twitter?,' to students in political communication classes, to the advanced researcher seeking access to a wealth of data and insight. -- David D. Perlmutter, The University of Iowa Surveys of and interviews with political Twitter users seek answers to several important questions: Who follows political leaders on Twitter-and why? How persuasive are political tweets? And more broadly, is political Twitter use good for democracy? These and other questions are answered from theoretical perspectives, such as uses and gratifications, word-of-mouth communication, selective exposure, innovation characteristics, and the continuity-discontinuity framework.

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