Relationships Among Twitter Conversation Networks, Language Use, and Congressional Voting
Shapiro, Matthew A.
MetadataShow full item record
As Twitter becomes a more common means for officials to communicate with their constituents, it becomes more important that we understand just how that communication relates to other political activities. Using data from 411 members of Congress' Twitter activity during the summer of 2011, we examine relationships among the resulting conversation networks, language use, and political behavior. The social networks that result from their communications have surprisingly low density and high diameter, indicating a level of independence that is surprising for a group so tightly connected offline. Our findings also indicate that officials frequently use Twitter to advertise their political positions and to provide information but rarely to request political action from their constituents or to recognize the good work of others. Our analysis suggests strong relationships between anti-social behaviors indicated by the loosely connected network and low incidence of pro-social conversations and polarized or extreme Congressional voting records.