Chancellor’s Honors Program Projects
Honors Thesis Project Title
Political Communication in a Digital Age: 2011 Tea Party Senators and Social Media
Date of Graduation
Barrett, Kaitlyn M., "Political Communication in a Digital Age: 2011 Tea Party Senators and Social Media" (2011). Chancellor’s Honors Program Projects.
American Politics Commons, Communication Technology and New Media Commons, Mass Communication Commons, Public Administration Commons, Public Affairs Commons, Public Relations and Advertising Commons, Social Influence and Political Communication Commons
As online networking, including the use of social media, becomes more prominent in today’s society, it has been utilized as a successful tool for political figures. Because social media boasts the two-way communication model of interaction online, it is important to consider and evaluate how politicians are using new media technologies, and specifically social media, to run their election campaigns and govern afterward. Attempting to better understand effective usage of new media technology, this project is a case study analysis of the social media used by Tea Party backed candidates in the 2010 U. S. Senate elections. The research examines the candidates’ use of social media, specifically social networks (Facebook), social video (YouTube), and microblogs (Twitter), and how it is incorporated into their overall political communication efforts. These efforts are measured with a one-month monitoring of posts vs. responses. While this case study specifically focuses on the Tea Party, the research discusses overall usage of social media for campaigning and governing. First of all, the study addresses the issues involved with political social media usage, such as transparency and control. Additionally, it shows examples of successful usage for others to follow. Together, these findings create a glance at the current social media landscape in politics and provide a learning opportunity for future campaigns and politicians.