Chapter published in:Approaches to Internet Pragmatics: Theory and practice
Edited by Chaoqun Xie, Francisco Yus and Hartmut Haberland
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 318] 2021
► pp. 259–285
Candidates’ use of Twitter during the 2016 Austrian presidential campaign
This paper explores the Twitter use by the candidates of the 2016 Austrian presidential campaign which lasted for almost one year and required three ballots in sequence. The data corpus consists of all Twitter messages the candidates posted during the campaign. Drawing on theoretical considerations regarding politicians’ and political parties’ use of internet communication technologies (esp. the innovation vs. the normalization hypotheses), the paper explores the content level, the use of rhetorical actions, and selected aspects of the interpersonal level of the data. Results show that the candidates’ communication strategies cannot fully be explained by either of the two hypotheses and hence that none of them can predict electoral success in this specific political campaign. It is concluded that the two proposed hypotheses concerning the use of internet communication technologies in the field of politics are too broad and that they have to be modified to account for contextual aspects of specific political communication situations.
Keywords: political discourse analysis, social media discourse, Twitter discourse, social media communication strategies, political campaign communication strategies, innovation hypothesis, normalization hypothesis, Austrian presidential election campaign 2016
Published online: 21 April 2021
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