Tech 621 Final Project Topic Proposal: Congressional Twitter Use

The use of social media and other user-driven content sites have become more popular in politics after the 2008 Presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Since this media campaign, there has been a growing interest in the social sciences to study the impact of social media and social networks. At the beginning of the 112th Congress in January 2011, each Congressional member was issued a BlackBerry for Congressional use. Social media is clearly present in politics, as well as the halls of the Capitol Building.

Obama uses Twitter

My proposed research question: What do the social networks of Senators in Congress look like on Twitter?

From the literature on Congress, we would expect that Constituents and other Congressional members will most certainly be a part of these social networks. Using Radian 6 and content analysis of Tweets on the topics of a few key issues may be able to provide a sense of the influences that a Senator on Twitter. I look to evaluate 10 Senators (5 Democrats and 5 Republicans) who are active on Twitter, and see if the theories of social networks of Congressional members holds up in the traditional literature.


About Mike Brownstein

I'm a Political Science MA student, and taking Tech 621 at Purdue University
This entry was posted in Questions and Fears, Social Sciences, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Tech 621 Final Project Topic Proposal: Congressional Twitter Use

  1. This sounds like a topic that is right up your alley with the direction you want to go with your thesis. That is what I’m planning on doing with my final project too, something that will contribute towards my thesis.

  2. hanjunxian says:

    This is very interesting. How are you going to extract the key topics and content from what they tweet?

  3. Mihaela says:

    I doubt you’ll be able to narrow a Radian 6 search to just 10 people – but you’ll be able to search the topics/issues.

    I love the way you took the ideas we brainstormed, narrowed them down, and found a way to explore them with analytics tools. Well done.

  4. Mihaela says:

    Yes, I think that will be a useful tool.

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