Politicizing, Personalizing, and Mobilizing in Online Political Communication: Drivers and Killers of Users’ Engagement
This article analyzes strategies and tactics used in online political communication. It examines political actors’ communication traits and how they affect Facebook users’ engagement. The focus of the article lies on different dimensions of personalization and how they are used as tactics. To answer these questions, I conducted a manual content analysis of posts from Barack Obama’s and David Cameron’s Facebook pages published from 2008 to 2016. Negative binomial regressions were used to estimate the effects of different predictors of users’ engagement. The findings suggest that both leaders used Facebook primarily as a tool to communicate about political topics, mobilize supporters, and display their political and private virtues. In the context of personalization of communication, the study identifies three main levels of privatization—low, medium, and high. Furthermore, the analysis of users’ interactions on Facebook pages (likes, comments, and shares) revealed that citizens preferred privatized and emotionalized posts.
Barack Obama, David Cameron, Facebook, online engagement, personalization, online political communication