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Campaigning in the time of Twitter: 140 character ethical appeals from the 2012 United States presidential election

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posted on 22.05.2021, 09:36 authored by Alanna Fallis
This paper looked at the use of Twitter during the 2012 United States presidential campaign and the use of ethos appeals as a strategy to build credibility. As a new communication avenue, Twitter plays an unprecedented role in political discourse today. Both the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns have engaged in social media strategies and are actively using Twitter to communicate their talking points, and overall political platform. Larry Beason’s (1991) categories of signaled ethos were applied to examine a collection of tweets from each candidate. Sites like Twitter offer a more personal communication avenue for politicians to use. This paper discusses the strategic messaging on Twitter from politicians, and whether the messages contain ethos. The research questions explored are: to what extent are there ethos appeals on Twitter in the 2012 United States political candidates’ tweets? And, to what extent are particular ethos appeals prevalent? Of the 100 tweets examined from Barack Obama, the findings showed that 32% of his tweets contained ethos appeals, while 58% of the 100 tweets from Mitt Romney contained ethos appeals.





Master of Professional Communication


Professional Communication

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type