New platform, old habits? Candidates’ use of Twitter during the 2010 British and Dutch general election campaigns


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Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Democracy | Politics and Political Science | Social Media & Social Software




Twitter has become one of the most important online spaces for political communication practice and research. Through a hand-coded content analysis, this study compares how British and Dutch Parliamentary candidates used Twitter during the 2010 general elections. We found that Dutch politicians were more likely to use Twitter than UK candidates and on average tweeted over twice as much as their British counterparts. Dutch candidates were also more likely to embrace the interactive potential of Twitter, and it appeared that the public responded to this by engaging in further dialogue. We attribute the more conservative approach of British candidates compared to the Netherlands to historic differences in the appropriation of social media by national elites, and differing levels of discipline imposed from the central party machines.