Visibility Through Information Sharing: The Role of Tweet Authors and Communication Styles in Retweeting Political Information on Twitter

Ines Engelmann, Andrea Kloss, Christoph Neuberger, Tobias Brockmann


If a speaker’s political message on Twitter is retweeted, both the speaker and the message become visible to a wider network of Twitter users, making the tweet actor more prominent on the Twittersphere or beyond.  This study analyses the effects of different types of tweet authors (such as politicians, journalists, economic actors, members of non-profit interest groups, and citizens) and communication styles of political information (affect and rationality) on the number of retweets.  Potential effects of these factors are hypothesized based on the Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM), but also discussed in the normative context of public sphere theories.  A content analysis of 4,403 tweets shows that the author types, communication styles, and their interaction lead to a higher number of retweets.  The theoretical and normative implications of these results are discussed.



heuristic-systematic model (HSM), Twitter, communication styles, information sharing, deliberation

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