BETWEEN BROADCASTING POLITICAL MESSAGES AND INTERACTING WITH VOTERS: The use of Twitter during the 2010 UK general election campaign

Todd Graham*, Marcel Broersma, Karin Hazelhoff, Guido van't Haar

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Politicians across Western democracies are increasingly adopting and experimenting with Twitter, particularly during election time. The purpose of this article is to investigate how candidates are using it during an election campaign. The aim is to create a typology of the various ways in which candidates behaved on Twitter. Our research, which included a content analysis of tweets (n=26,282) from all twittering Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates (n=416) during the 2010 UK General Election campaign, focused on four aspects of tweets: type, interaction, function and topic. By examining candidates' twittering behaviour, the authors show that British politicians mainly used Twitter as a unidirectional form of communication. However, there were a group of candidates who used it to interact with voters by, for example, mobilizing, helping and consulting them, thus tapping into the potential Twitter offers for facilitating a closer relationship with citizens.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)692-716
    Number of pages25
    JournalInformation Communication & Society
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1-Jun-2013


    • content analysis
    • election campaign
    • politicians
    • social media
    • Twitter
    • United Kingdom
    • political parties
    • Political Communication
    • Political Studies
    • Internet Studies
    • British Politics
    • Democratic Representation
    • Citizen Engagement
    • Representative Democracy
    • Political parties
    • Party Politics
    • New Media and Democracy
    • Members of Parliament

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