ME, YOU, And US: Constructing political persona on social networks during the 2015 UK General Election.

Bethany Usher

Abstract


This article offers statistical and discourse analysis of political leaders’ profile pages during the 2015 UK General Election ‘short campaign’ as a means to better understand the construction of political persona on Social Network Sites (SNS). It examines this as a group production and promotional activity that variously used patterns and routines of both traditional and digital media to display leaders as party branded selves.  Performances strived for balance between authority and authenticity, using the political self as a spectacle to direct microelectorates to specific actions.  This study demonstrates how self-storytelling is shaped by the coded conventions or “house rules” of SNS, which are viewed as inescapable institutions for maintaining public visibility.  It examines how linguistic and visual elements, linked to different political ideologies, chimed with Twitter and Facebook users and looks to the impact on political campaigning.


Keywords


Persona; social networks; political marketing; celebrity; microelectorates; authenticity; authority

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21153/ps2016vol2no2art608

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