The social media balancing act: Testing the use of a balanced self-presentation strategy for politicians using Twitter

Jonas Colliander, Ben Marder, Lena Lid Falkman, Jenny Madestam, Erik Modig, Sofie Sagfossen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Politicians' clear separation between their professional and private lives has been challenged by a growing need to be seen as personable, especially on social media where this is the norm. Little, however, is known about the effect on a political party when its politicians reveal aspects of their private lives on social media. The present study addresses this question. Through the lens of self-presentation theory, we
are the first to test the effect of a balanced presentation strategy on Twitter (i.e., tweets that involve both professional and private aspects of their lives) as opposed to a strictly professional one. A longitudinal design was adopted with 265 Twitter users as participants. The results showed that a balanced strategy increased both interest in the politician's party and intention to vote for that party, irrespective of a user's
political interest, social media usage intensity, or age, or the gender of either the user or the communicating politician. Furthermore, liking the tweets emerged as a crucial mediator. This study contributes valuable knowledge on self-presentation strategies of politicians specifically, and more broadly regarding self-presentation in the face of context collapse. However we call for future research to validate our experimental findings in a real-life setting. Implications are provided for political parties and others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277- 285
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume74
Early online date20 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • social media
  • Twitter
  • political marketing
  • self presentation

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