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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 10, 2019

Personalization 2.0? – Testing the personalization hypothesis in citizens’, journalists’, and politicians’ campaign Twitter communication

  • Lukas P. Otto EMAIL logo , Isabella Glogger and Michaela Maier
From the journal Communications


This paper advances the research on personalization of political communication by investigating whether this process of focusing on politicians instead of political issues plays a role on Twitter. Results of a content analysis of 5,530 tweets posted in the run-up to the German federal election provide evidence that Twitter communication refers more often to politicians than to issues. However, tweets containing personal characteristics about political leaders play only a marginal role. When distinguishing among different groups of actors on Twitter (journalists, politicians, citizens), we find that citizens focus more on candidates than do journalists or politicians. Investigating the impact of a televised debate on Twitter communication, we observe that this person-centered event puts the focus on individual politicians instead of issues.


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Funding: Our work was supported by the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) and the first author’s grant from the German National Academic Foundation.

Published Online: 2019-10-10
Published in Print: 2019-11-26

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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