The number of people actively participating in online social networking is ever increasing. According to a Pew Research Center survey (Smith, 2014), 16 percent of registered voters follow political candidates, parties, or officials on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter; this has increased from 6 percent since 2010. Forty-one percent reported they follow political figures on social media so they could find out about political news before other people (Smith, 2014). Twitter, a microblogging site that allows users to post 140 characters or less, is becoming increasingly popular among the public as well as current officeholders and political candidates. In the 2012 Republican primaries, for example, all candidates seeking office were present on Twitter. Twitter use is not limited to the top of the ticket, however. Twitter was also widely employed by candidates vying for US Senate, US House, and governor in 2010 (e.g., Hanna, Sayre, Bode, Yang, & Shah, 2011; Parmelee & Bichard, 2012). Indeed, Twitter has become a vital communication tool for campaigns, politicians, political parties, protesters, and voters (Price, 2012; Vergeer, Hermans, & Sams, 2013).
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