Chapter published in:The Construction of ‘Ordinariness’ across Media Genres
Edited by Anita Fetzer and Elda Weizman
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 307] 2019
► pp. 21–50
Are Austrian presidential candidates ordinary people?
Candidates’ self-presentation strategies on Twitter during the 2016 Austrian presidential election campaign
This paper investigates one specific aspect of impression management (self-presentation as an ordinary person) of the candidates during the 2016 Austrian presidential campaign on Twitter and asks whether the candidates’ campaigns followed the innovation or the normalization hypothesis. By applying Goffman’s concepts of “giving” vs. “giving off” information to the affordances of political communication on Twitter, a communicated ordinariness strategy is distinguished from a staged ordinariness strategy. Different forms of these two strategies are identified in the candidates’ tweets by investigating the pictorial and verbal elements of their tweets. Results show that both strategies are employed rather infrequently in all but one of the candidates’ tweets. Only one of the candidates used a staged ordinariness strategy during one phase of the campaign. These results show that most candidates employed communication strategies which conform to the normalization hypothesis rather than to the innovation hypothesis. Furthermore, the results suggest that following a consistent communication strategy throughout an entire campaign might ultimately lead to electoral success.
Keywords: political discourse, social media, microblogging, Twitter, political campaign, election campaign, politicians’ self-presentation, Austrian presidential election
Published online: 12 December 2019
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