The 2008 presidential election, 2.0: A content analysis of user-generated political facebook groups

Julia K. Woolley, Anthony M. Limperos, Mary Beth Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although Facebook is primarily known for building and maintaining relationships, the 2008 presidential election highlighted this social networking website as a viable tool for political communication. In fact, during primary season until Election Day in 2008, Facebook users created more than 1,000 Facebook group pages that focused on Barack Obama and John McCain. Using quantitative content analysis, the primary purpose of this study was to assess how both John McCain and Barack Obama were portrayed across these Facebook groups. Results indicated that group membership and activity levels were higher for Barack Obama than for John McCain. Overall, Barack Obama was portrayed more positively across Facebook groups than John McCain. In addition, profanity, racial, religious, and age-related language were also coded for and varied with regard to how each candidate was portrayed. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-652
Number of pages22
JournalMass Communication and Society
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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