Studying Political Microblogging: Parliamentary Candidates on Twitter During The February 2012 Election in Kuwait
Kuwait boasts high levels of political and media freedoms compared to many countries in the Middle East, and it enjoys a vibrant social media scene. The Kuwaiti parliamentary election in February 2012 was the first election in which candidates widely utilized Twitter during their campaigns. This article presents a content analysis of tweets sent by the 50 winning members of parliament (MPs) during the campaign period. It seeks to ascertain the Twitter usage patterns of MPs and determine whether Twitter was an effective tool in gaining votes. Although Twitter was widely used among MPs, it was employed less for information sharing or communicating about political issues and more for engaging with followers. This article concludes that no relationship existed between using Twitter and gaining votes. Rather, the social media platform acted as a natural extension of off-line interactions between MPs and the electorate.