Everything for the People, but Without the People? Illustrated Populism on Social Media in the European Political Context

Laura Alonso-Muñoz


The rise of new populist actors and consolidation of the use of social media such as Twitter are changing the political communication field. The main goal of this research is to understand whether European populist political actors introduce 2 of the inherent elements of populism—the people and the elite—into their digital communicative strategy and how they frame it. The samples are composed by the messages shared on Twitter by 4 European political parties (Podemos, Movimento 5 Stelle, Front National, and UKIP) and their leaders. This study analyzed 9,128 messages. The results show that despite being an intrinsic characteristic of populism, these political actors practically never appeal to the people in their messages, but criticize the elites. It therefore produces an illustrated populism in their social media strategy, in which everything is for the people, but without the people.


populism, political communication, social media, Twitter, Europe

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