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

Lukas P. Otto 1 , Isabella Glogger 2  and Michaela Maier 3
  • 1 Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR, Department of Communication Science, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 2 Institute for Communication Psychology and Media Education, University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany
  • 3 Institute for Communication Psychology and Media Education, University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany
Lukas P. Otto
  • Corresponding author
  • Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR, Department of Communication Science, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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, Isabella Glogger
  • Institute for Communication Psychology and Media Education, University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany
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and Michaela Maier
  • Institute for Communication Psychology and Media Education, University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany
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Abstract

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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