The Politics of Twitter: Emotions and the Power of Social Media

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Social media is becoming a key medium through which we communicate with each other: it is at the center of the very structures of our daily interactions. Yet this infiltration is not unique to interpersonal relations. Political leaders, governments, and states operate within this social media environment, wherein they continually address crises and institute damage control through platforms such as Twitter. A question arises here as to what the turn to Twitter means for conventional structures of power and different levels of communication. This article analyses the emotional dynamics of Twitter, illustrating how emotion is implicated in the power of this social media platform. I argue that Twitter can both represent emotions and provoke emotions, which can play an important role in the escalation or de-escalation of conflict. The emotional conditions Twitter facilitates are implicated in how shifts in temporality and functionality of communication have shaped political discourse so significantly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-429
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Political Sociology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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