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A Bad Workman Blames His Tweets: The Consequences of Citizens' Uncivil Twitter Use When Interacting With Party Candidates

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sebastian Popa



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. , 2016.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Existing studies focusing on politicians' adoption of Twitter have found that they use it primarily as a broadcasting tool. We argue that citizens' impolite and/or uncivil behavior is one possible explanation for such decisions. Social media conversations are rife with harassment and politicians are a prime target. This alters the incentive structure of engaging in dialogue on social media. We use Spanish, Greek, German, and U.K. candidates' tweets sent during the run-up to the recent European Parliament elections, and rely on automated text analysis and machine learning methods to measure their level of civility. Our contribution is an actor-oriented theory of political dialogue that incorporates Twitter's specific affordances, clarifying how and why Twitter's democratic promise may be limited.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Theocharis Y, Barberá P, Fazekas Z, Popa SA, Parnet O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Communication

Year: 2016

Volume: 66

Issue: 6

Pages: 1007-1031

Print publication date: 12/01/2016

Online publication date: 28/10/2016

Acceptance date: 06/10/2015

Date deposited: 01/12/2017

ISSN (print): 0021-9916

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2466

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1111/jcom.12259


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