“Unpresidented” - Twitter as a Tool in Donald Trump’s Social Media Campaign

Bachelor Thesis, 2017

61 Pages, Grade: 1,85




List of Figures


1 Campaigning with the Internet
1.1 Campaigning with “old media“
1.2 Campaigning with “new media”
1.3 Microblogging in Political Business

2 Donald Trump on Twitter
2.1 The Twitter-Phenomenon Donald Trump
2.2 Donald Trump’s Tweet Pattern
2.3 The Online Persona Donald Trump

3 Different Forms of Political Mobilization
3.1 Rhetorical Strategies and Populist Mobilization
3.2 Social Media as a Tool for Networking Opponents

4 Conclusion and Outlook

5 Works Cited

6 List of Tweets

7 Appendix

List of Figures

Figure 1 : His loves and Hates. Rapp, Nicholas, Oern Tsur and David Lazer. "I. You. Great. Trump. - A Graphic Analysis of Trump's Twitter History, in Five Slides."Politico.com, May/June 2016. www.politico.com/magazine/gallery/2016/04/donald-trump-twitter-account-history-social-media-campaign-000631?slide=2. Accessed 7 Dec. 2016. Web.

Figure 2 : His Favorite Words/Trumpian Terms. Rapp, Nicholas, Oren Tsur and David Lazer."I. You. Great. Trump. - A Graphic Analysis of Trump's Twitter History, in Five Slides."Politico.com, May/June 2016. www.politico.com/magazine/gallery/2016/04/donald-trump-twitter-account-history-social-media-campaign-000631?slide=1. Accessed 10 Dec. 2016. Web.

Figure 3: Sad/Donald's World. Rapp, Nicholas, Oren Tsur and David Lazer. "I. You. Great. Trump. - A Graphic Analysis of Trump's Twitter History, in Five Slides ." Politico.com, May/June 2016. www.politico.com/magazine/gallery/2016/04/donald-trump-twitter-account-history-social-media-campaign-000631?slide=3. Accessed 10 Dec. 2016. Web

Figure 4: Percent of Tweets by @realDonaldTrump by Time of Day (EST). Robinson, David. "Two People Write Trump’s Tweets. He Writes the Angrier Ones.” The Washington Post, 12 Aug. 2016. www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/08/12/two-people-write-trumps-tweets-he-writes-the-angrier-ones/?utm_term=.68c7d751b10d. Accessed 28 Oct. 2016. Web.

Figure 5 : Tweets by @realDonaldTrump with Pictures or Links. Robinson, David. “Two People Write Trump’s Tweets. He Writes the Angrier Ones.” The Washington Post, 12 Aug. 2016 www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/08/12/two-people-write-trumps-tweets-he-writes-the-angrier-ones/?utm_term=.b935def65d51. Accessed 20. Oct. 2016. Web.

Figure 6: Ideological Placement of Each Source's Audiences. Blake, Aaron. “Ranking the Media from Liberal to Conservative, Based on Their Audiences.” The Washington Pos t, 21 Oct. 2014. www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/10/21/lets-rank-the-media-from-liberal-to-conservative-based-on-their-audiences/?utm_term=.ea0e4e08e3d8. Accessed 14 Dec. 2016. Web.


Presidential elections in the United States are, and always have been, major events in American and world history. They are watched by millions of people not only in the US but all over the world. A circumstance that is often not noticed by less informed viewers is that the most famous part of the elections, namely the presidential inauguration, is preceded by weeks, months and even years of presidential campaigning, where candidates raise and spend vast amounts of money in order to convince the American citizens to give them their vote. These campaigns have commonly consisted of journeys throughout the entire country, rallies, conventions and speeches but lately, another medium has been taking a great role in the competition: Social Media. Especially during the 2016 election cycle Twitter became a campaign tool that never has been used during political campaigns to this extent before. Donald Trump in particular has made use of Twitter to such a great extent that it sometimes even seemed like his official speaking tube.

The introductory chapters of this work are dedicated to Obama’s social media pioneer work during his 2008 election cycle. Then the Twitter phenomenon Trump will be analyzed based on an analysis of recurring patterns in a selection of his tweets. His controversial behavior online as well as offline will be set out as well. Additionally, the Online Persona Trump will be examined based on the findings of a data scientist’s blog. As not only Trump uses Twitter, the opponents’ usage of the platform will be regarded as well. This work does not exclusively focus on his online activities but is always expanded to offline-statements and public appearances. Especially in order to take a look at his rhetorical strategies and the populist tendency of his language, the range had to be expanded. Therefore, this Bachelor’s thesis can be considered as a content analysis in terms of an extended analytical press review.

The Election Process

Presidential Elections in the US are held every four years. Election is a process, which consists of two crucial steps: a major political party nomination and a general election. Before the citizens can cast their ballots, the major political party nomination takes place where the candidates of each party who are running for presidency and vice-presidency are nominated with a majority of the delegates’ votes, also called the Electoral College. Each state has a number of delegates according to the state’s population, who convene either in primaries or caucuses. Delegates are pledged to support a certain candidate. In states with primaries, voters go to polling stations to vote for their preferred delegate, while in states with caucuses, party members speak on behalf of the candidate they support for the nomination. Early contests are closely related to the fact that money plays a decisive role in US campaigning. Candidates put great effort into states that hold primaries and caucuses first, as these early contests frequently show which candidate can compete in the run for presidency. This is, for example criticized in Iowa, a state that holds early primaries, and is not representative for the rest of the country but gets comparatively far more attention. Since 2010, individuals have been allowed to spend an unlimited amount of their own money on their campaign. If presidential candidates receive contributions, federal law dictates how much and from whom. These details are also made accessible for the public. The last major-party candidates, for example spent hundreds of millions of dollars on their campaigns in order to hire staff, arrange office space, pay travel cost, advertise on radio, television or newspapers and to host campaign events. Even though the US government provides funds for presidential campaigns, the candidates do not often consider this option because the funds are very limited. Instead, it is much more common that candidates raise money to fund their campaigns.

There have been two major parties in the US political landscape since the 1830s: the Democrat Party and Republican Party[1] - that still dominate the election process now. Since 1852, every president has either been a Democrat or a Republican. There are only few governors or members of Congress who are independent or belong to a third party. One characteristic of the US election process is the first-past-the-post - system. The candidate with the most votes wins, even if they have not received the majority of the cast. In countries that give seats according to the proportion of the votes a certain party receives, a multi-party system is more likely (US Elections in Brief; Coleman, Neale, and Cantor).

Key Terms

As there exists no standardized terminology of concepts like World Wide Web, Internet, Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Digital Media, and Social Media etc., the definitions turn out to be difficult. In this work, I will use the terms as stated in the International Journal of Web & Semantic Technology by Aghaei et al. and in the Journal Of Computer-Mediated Communication by Boyd and Ellison. The World Wide Web is not a synonym for the Internet in general but the two terms are not further distinguished and used synonymously in this work.

The Web 1.0 is, according to Tim Burners-Lee a mono-directional “read-only web“. Only few people were able to provide information that a great amount of people could access then. Content on websites was mainly static. The term Web 2.0, first time officially defined in 2005 by Tim O’Reilly, is also called the “participative web“ due to its bi-directional function (Aghaei, Nematbakhsh, and Farsani; O’Reilly; Hellmann 1). From then on the users of Web 2.0 could interact with each other and produce content. In this context, the term prosumer was introduced. It is a neologism created of producer and consumer (Hellmann 2–3). With Web 2.0, social networking platforms arose that allow users to create a public profile, show content and connect to other users (Boyd and Ellison 211). Social Media can be characterized by “collaborative content creation” (Aghaei, Nematbakhsh, and Farsani 1–3). Digital media are often considered as the opposite to analogue media. In this work, digital media is used interchangeably with new media and comprises any news published on a mobile website or a blog (“Digital Media Definition”).

1 Campaigning with the Internet

1.1 Campaigning with “old media“

Before the Internet, campaign strategy combined strong representative obligations and rhetoric skills. People were addressed in masses. Nowadays, people are too busy to attend campaign rallies every month so candidates have to go where the voters actually are. The invention of radiobroadcasting played a game-changing role in political campaigns, as it made it possible for candidates to talk to their voters in a new way. Franklin D. Roosevelt is described as having mastered the medium radio in the 1932 election cycle (Denton 3). With the advent of television, the candidates were not just mere slogans or speakers anymore, but living people you could watch life and in color on television (Kissane). Especially Ronald Reagan made use of the television as a campaign tool in the 1980 election cycle. Denton even described him as the “first true television president” since his persona, messages and behavior met the requirements of the medium television (Denton xii). Radio and television can live-broadcast political events or speeches but they both depend on the audience present in front of the television or the radio. Additionally, radio and television have gatekeeping-functions, as journalists first need to investigate stories before they can report on them, while on the Internet, every person can spread raw information within very short time. Radio and television both work with certain features. Radio messages require a strong voice and a good slogan. Television commercials need catchy visuals, sounds or work with text on the screen. The same applies for campaign flyers, which also need memorable text and graphic design elements or good photos. With the internet, campaigns can now reach every single voter – virtually. It offers more versatility as it combines all features. The internet significantly changed the speed of campaigning as voters can be approached visually on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube at any time. Those, who want to receive information, can subscribe to newsletters. Radio listeners can subscribe to podcasts and speeches and campaign commercials can be streamed online. Compared to the old campaign tools, the internet outreaches all of them with its mobility, reachability and availability (Kissane).

1.2 Campaigning with “new media”

Campaigning has changed with the rise of new tools and techniques. Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) brought interactivity and decentralized political issues into peoples’ homes. This means that supporters, as well as opponents, could communicate directly about political players (Gibson and Ward 63–68). It is proven that opposition politicians tend to use social media more frequently to publicly show their dissent (Hong and Nadler). Decentralized organized parties, for example the Green Party or protest groups, as well as new social movements, nowadays also make more use of technology than traditional parties have made. Mainstream political parties approached new media carefully without significant results on party leaders or policies (Gibson and Ward 68).

The internet first became popular in US political affairs in the late 1990s, in which the voter turnout decreased (Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 116). In the course of mediatization of campaigning in the late 1990s/2000, the web helped politically interested citizens to go canvassing, raise fund for candidates and get in touch with other volunteer campaigners (Gibson and Ward 68). The tools for canvassing have changed and online-campaigning is of similar importance as are events of offline-campaigning like rallies. The tendency towards a more direct style of communication during campaigning has intensified with the development of websites and email. According to surveys conducted in the UK and Scandinavia in 2000 and 2001, the participation of voters during campaigns through, for example, blogs, social media or videos was not widely accepted. Smaller organizations achieved more attention with their online activities than major parties that rather focused on traditional media. The voters’ awareness of online campaigning has especially increased during the 2008 Obama election cycle, in which people started to access election material online. While in 1996 only 4 percent of the population accessed information about the elections online, the number rose to 55 percent in 2008 (Gibson and Ward 68). One frequently discussed question is whether the internet can push new people into political debate or whether only already interested or committed people use such web sources.[2]

It is worthwhile to note that success in political campaigning related to social media is based on the individual candidate’s model of campaigning. It is questionable whether models based on a strong party organization can provide the concreteness of a direct candidate. The internet offers more possibilities to parties and candidates to promote themselves in elections than before due to relatively low costs of launching an internet campaign (Ghillebeart q.i. Gibson and Ward 64). The internet allows smaller parties to make a larger impression on possible voters than they actually represent– just by having a professional web presence (Copsey q.i. Gibson and Ward 64).[3] Studies found that some countries stated that smaller parties, especially the Green Party and those oriented to the right, were strong users of technology and were competitive in online campaigning and that right parties in particular recruited members and networked on the Internet. For these parties the Internet has been indispensable (Gibson and Ward 65).

1.3 Microblogging in Political Business

The 2008 Obama Election Cycle

With new online technologies, such as Facebook and Twitter, being launched in 2004 and 2006, campaign messages can be published with a much higher frequency than with the older media channels. The messages sent via social media have a more personal and also a more direct impression on potential voters (Gibson and Ward 66). Vice versa, this direct access also enables every citizen to become more politically involved without even having to advertise support for a certain candidate. Being political includes mailing political content, even if it is just a small joke, reading blogs or commenting on articles on the internet. Such small political acts can activate formerly politically inactive people. Current developments demand an extension of political approaches to possible voters and a development in understanding voter behavior. One characteristic of the internet is that immense numbers of viewpoints, both in favor as well as in disfavor, are accessible to a wide range of potential voters, who also might have alternative opinions. Candidates can seize the opportunity the Web 2.0 offers for party-candidate relationships in the form of personal websites, blogs, social media and online video in order to customize campaigning. Politicians can now directly communicate their own points of view and even make available private information about themselves (Gibson and Ward 67).

According to the two-step mobilization model by Gibson and Ward, campaign sites on the internet attract activists who then mobilize others beyond the internet. The most important decisions in terms of voters are made long before the Election Day (Gibson and Ward 66–67). The web itself offers a more bottom-up form of campaigning what the 2008 campaign of Barack Obama showed (Gibson and Ward 64). During the 2008 election cycle, Obama’s campaign was more diverse in terms of new media usage than in former election cycles. Besides sending automatic text messages to citizens, his campaign published short video clips on YouTube and virtual billboard advertisement on video game sites. Although websites for news and certain forums reported about the campaign, bloggers were asked to write about the candidate. A Pew survey showed that over 60 per cent of the Democrats who voted for Obama and over 40 per cent who voted for Clinton watched political videos online during the 2008 US presidential campaign (Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 119). Only a third of these supporters signed petitions, sent emails or contributed money. 25 percent of Obama supporters and more than 15 percent of McCain supporters stated to have obtained campaign information material online (Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 120). By Election Day, Obama had 6,471,027 supporters on his Facebook account. This was ten times more than his rival John McCain had with 620, 359 supporters (Lilleker and Jackson 79).[4]

Obama’s campaign in the presidential election cycle in 2008 drastically increased the level of voter interactivity and voter turnout as he offered different possibilities of canvassing. He and all the other candidates used Twitter to announce campaign events. (Lilleker and Jackson 79; Gibson and Ward 64). However, during this earlier period of social media Twitter was not as influential as it is in campaigning today. Obama included smart phones introducing the Call Friend’s iPhone application. Volunteers designed it and users could download an application that changed their mobile phones to a mini-campaign tool. This way, they could send automatically generated messages to friends and remind them to vote for Obama (Gibson and Ward 64). However, Barack Obama and his campaign team also created the outstanding website MyBarackObama.com – also called MyBo. MyBo wanted to harness the political activist. Apart from traditionally providing general information, they added a menu and news items that offered the activist to connect to others in their neighborhood (Lilleker and Jackson 80). As Obama’s supporters could communicate via MyBo, the platform thus encouraged the voter participation at campaign events. Furthermore, Obama used his website to promote his offline-campaign elements. He offered an action center where supporters could get training in telephone and door-to-door canvassing. The website consisted of informational and functional elements. Users could get information about the latest news and upcoming events, donate and buy merchandise products. There was also an area on the website where attacks of his rivals where rebutted. The largest and most frequently used section of the website was the functional area, as for example the MyBo blog, where users could actively participate in discussions.[5] MyBo also offered an extra section for voters of each state and a chat room providing horizontal conversation among activists.

Compared to Obama’s website, the online appearance of his rival John McCain was rather traditional. McCain offered links to his biography news and documents where he attacked Obama’s election program, a section where events and media appearances were announced, and put a strong focus on donations. There also was a blog but it was rather informal, negative and not as developed as Obama’s blog. The online identities differed widely, since McCain did not encourage participation to the same degree as Obama on MyBo and McCain offensively attacked his rival while Obama criticized more subtly. The most striking difference was that entire areas on MyBo were co-created by campaign staff and supporters and that Obama offered modern tools such as an Obama Tax Calculator where voters could find out the economic impact of his presidency. Additionally, the MyBo website was characterized by its high user-friendliness. This probably also led to the 643 million dollars of donations Obama raised compared to 259 million dollars achieved by McCain. In addition to that, Obama was also highly present on social media platforms. He had 21 different profiles in 18 social networks which were popular among Democrats, Hispanics and African Americans (Lilleker and Jackson 81–86). McCain limited his online presence to Facebook and MySpace (Lilleker and Jackson 93). By sending newsletters in the name of himself, his running mate Joe Biden or his campaign manager David Plouffe Obama established a feeling of closeness between his supporters. Supporters did a part of the campaign work for Obama as they updated their Facebook status and shared campaign badges and posters but they also campaigned for Obama offline within their neighborhoods, which was especially important in swing states (Lilleker and Jackson 88-90). Obama made the network act in his favor in some ways, as his supporters asked friends to post badges or donate. Even though MyBo was accessible only to US-citizens Obama’s presence in global social networks made him popular among supporters outside the US what represented a further endorsement to his campaign. He also included the LGBT community as equal participants in his networks while McCain mainly reached for the traditional Republican voters.

The language on the campaign websites differentiated as well. Whereas McCain’s language was rather impersonal Obama used the pronoun „we“ when speaking to emphasize his belonging to the American people. This also became visible in the promoted campaign slogans Yes We Can and I believe (Lilleker and Jackson 94). It is a frequent feature of American election campaigns to make the people aware of the negative attributes of their opponents, however, Obama behaved differently as his messages were rather comparative than depreciating, while McCain had an entire section on his website branding Obama and his running mate Biden as liars (Lilleker and Jackson 89). Obama managed to increase the level of participation, so did for example, the best posts have over a thousand comments. User participation always represents the danger of public criticism but Obama answered critics with strong rebuttals which again strengthened his position (Lilleker and Jackson 92–93). With the Web 2.0, political actors do not only have to compete against their rivals but also against the other users who produce online content (Lilleker and Jackson 89). The effects of this user participation can be seen for example in mock campaign videos often created by independent web users whose effects are frequently amplified by media coverage. However, this also works for the opposite: Will.i.am, singer of the Black Eyed Peas, mixed a song for Obama and landed a global hit on YouTube. All media coverage and public discussions contributed to his campaign laid the foundation for a more participatory culture in politics (Lilleker and Jackson 80).

There is a great difference between producing political messages (like Yes We Can videos during his campaign) on for example YouTube, Flickr or blogs compared to going online and seeing political information such as campaign programs. Political messages embedded in social media context of Facebook or Twitter differs from content published by formal representatives on official media channels. These new social media tools each have different functions and are rather used by younger citizens. What unites social media platforms is that all of them contribute to a more porous and permeable structure between public and private contexts (Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 121).

Facebook and Twitter

On Facebook, users can create a profile with a virtual résumé, add photos and are able to become friends with other users. Another characteristic is the news feed where the user gets information about their friends’ latest activities, people or organizations they follow. According to a poll by Pew Research Center from 2016, Facebook remains the most frequently used social media site as 79 per cent of all US online adults use Facebook.[6] Mainly young adults use the platform, but even 62 per cent of adults aged 65 and older use this medium as well. 76 per cent of Facebook users visit the website on a daily basis (Greenwood, Perrin, and Duggan). Twitter is a micro-blogging website developed in 2006 in San Francisco. On this website every user can create a profile which provides personal details and publish messages comprising a maximum of 140 characters. Due to this limit, Twitter users frequently use abbreviations. Examples for such abbreviations are terms like FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States), POTUS (President of the United States) or SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) (Shea). The original intention was to inform followers of events. Every user can connect with other users, which is called following, which means that a Twitter user can follow other users and any other user can follow each Twitter user. Not only private people use Twitter but also politicians, political parties and companies. All users comply with several conventions established within the Twitter community as for example addressing fellow Twitter users by writing an @ before mentioning the user name. The topic of a tweet can be indicated with a hashtag. A tweet can be retweeted by writing RT @ user name at the beginning or the end of the tweet. The Twitter-like, however, is only positively connoted while on Facebook different nuances of likes are possible. Since 2015, users can respond to posts by expressing love, laughter, happiness, shock, sadness and anger (Lunden). It is also common to write @ user name at the beginning of a tweet just to link other users to the tweet (Mainka 3). According to the 2016 Pew survey, 24 per cent of all online adults questioned use Twitter, with 42 per cent of them visiting the platform every day. Twitter users are rather younger adults under 50 and people who have a college degree (Greenwood, Perrin, and Duggan). Facebook offers a Twitter application where Twitter can be connected to a Facebook account, which people with a strong public presence frequently use. They only have to publish their message on Twitter and it is automatically posted on Facebook, as well. Since Donald Trump also connected his Twitter account with his Facebook profile, this work will focus on Donald Trump’s Twitter appearance.

Participation Crisis

A crisis of participation is taking place and the US in particular is confronted with declining participation rates. In the 2016 election cycle 55 per cent of all citizens who were entitled to vote cast ballots, which was the lowest turnout rate in a presidential election since 1996 (53,3 per cent). During the 2008 election cycle, 63,7 per cent of voting age citizens cast a ballot (Wallace).[7] This development is particularly drastic among younger citizens, which is seen as indicative of their falling trust in government. The sinking participation rates can be explained in a traditional way by stating that a change towards a post-material, more lifestyle politics that includes declining confidence in elite and institution-driven participation, but an increasing interest of citizens in advanced democracies with civic matters not directly tied to the national policymaking apparatus (Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 121).[8] Zukin et al. distinguish between political participation in regard to the state – this includes voting or working for candidates – and civic engagement – as for example social commitment. They claim that social engagement rates are quite good (Zukin et al. q.i. Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 121). Similarly, Dalton distinguishes between rather traditional duty-based citizenship and engagement-based norms. Duty-based citizenship includes a range of values such as, compliance with authorities, the duty to vote, obeying laws and serving in the military. Engagement-based norms are for instance contributions to groups and communities and helping socially disadvantaged people. Decreasing rates of participation in traditional terms show the generational change; older citizens rather attach importance to duty-based values while younger citizens advocate for engagement-based values (Dalton q.i. Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 121). Bennett interprets participation rates stating that younger citizens perceive messages and appeals to participation from “traditional” official representatives as inauthentic. According to Bennett, younger citizens rather feel addressed by personal expression and the chance to produce and project publicly their own identities (Bennett q.i. Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 121). Ingleheart explicitly states that the “confusion over whether participation is rising or falling arises from the fact that we are dealing with two distinct processes: elite-directed participation is eroding, but more autonomous and active forms of participation are rising” (Ingleheart 311).[9]

Generational change in terms of political participation is made visible in the usage of digital media (Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 121). Especially younger people make use of the flexible and decentralized technology, as it offers them to act politically in an uncomplicated manner. Citizens can publicly state their opinion to civic concerns, and are able to support politicians online, or create political content themselves, such as posting a political tweet and thus draw attention to political themes. Before digital media arose, the possibility to act politically was limited to local politicians and the possibility to express political views at a national scale was mainly reserved to senior politicians. Digital media allow citizens to connect to the state but also to engage civically beyond an institution, which facilitates the action of interest groups and allows citizens to act politically autonomously. Another reason for progressing digital media is the fact that boundaries between private lives of individuals and public life of organizations, states and communities continue to blur (Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 122).


[1] The Republican Party was founded in 1845. Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party inspired the name. The Party is often nicknamed GOP what stands for Grand Old Party. According to the Republican National Committee back in 1875 the acronym stood for Gallant Old Party (History of the GOP; Grace).

[2] Whether the Internet can enhance the political debate or even voter turnout is not clear. The “Democratization Thesis” is not officially acknowledged. It has to be differentiated between decreasing voter participation rates, on the one hand, and the loud spectacle in the media where many potential voters participate, on the other hand. Prior states that the internet has a positive effect on participation except for people who use the Internet for entertaining purposes. (Bimber and Copeland 4). Hill and Hughes argued that the Internet does not increase participation rates, as citizens who are already interested in political affairs will rather switch to the Internet as their source of information. Others argue that the low cost and the opportunities for easy engagement would increase participation rates. These two approaches are categorized into an optimistic and pessimistic perspective. Some studies show a positive relation between Internet usage and rates of participation, especially in the United States, while other studies do not report any correlation. The majority of studies, however, report a positive connection between the Internet and voter participation as well as a positive effect on political knowledge. Mossberger et al. state that Internet usage has positive effects on “political discussion, political knowledge, and political interest” especially among younger people. (Hill and Hughes, Mossberger et al. q.i. Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 116–121).

[3] It is still unclear whether the Internet can provide an increasing number of candidates taking part in elections. The result of the presidential elections in the US, however, suggests that money still is decisive in US-campaigning as Donald Trump’s wealth generated with real estate made his candidacy possible to a large extent.

[4] The named figures deviate according to the source. TechPresident states that by election day about three million people had become supporter of Obama and McCain on Facebook (TechPresident q.i. Bimber, “Digital Media and Citizenship” 120). Social media is not static and therefor it is difficult to make out reliable figures. As long as profiles are not deleted people can continue to like and share the posts.

[5] According to Lilleker and Jackson rising doubts whether all the participation came from real people or whether it was faked by the campaign team got rebutted by the impression that the website was not only the site of the Obama as a candidate but also the site of the Obama-movement (Lilleker and Jackson 81).

[6] All the figures from Pew Research center are for online adults that are US citizens aged 18 and older. Currently 86% of all Americans use the internet (Greenwood, Perrin, and Duggan).

[7] These figures may also have been influenced by the fact that both candidates were contested during their campaigns what disconcerted the potential voters. Donald Trump was heavily criticized for his non-statesmanlike behavior and his misogynistic remarks while Hillary Clinton generated negative publicity with her email scandal.

[8] In the context of this work elite-directed refers to structures in the policy-making apparatus. Government critics often use the term establishment to imply a negative and critical attitude towards such groups that hold power in a nation.

[9] Political activist groups such as Anonymous are based on such decentralized structures. There is no leadership and everyone can become a member of the collective. They got famous for their Internet hacktivism protesting against the practices of the Scientology church. The members of the collective communicate and organize protests only via Internet. Anonymous activists often wear Guy Fawkes masks in public to remain anonymous (Carter).

Excerpt out of 61 pages


“Unpresidented” - Twitter as a Tool in Donald Trump’s Social Media Campaign
University of Augsburg  (Philologisch-Historische Fakultät)
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Die Bachelorarbeit untersucht die Rolle der Tweets von Donald Trump in seinem Wahlkampf bis zur Nominierung als republikanischer Präsidentschaftskandidat. Kulturwissenschaftliche und medienanalytische Aspekte werden herausgearbeitet und aus der vorhandenen Sekundärliteratur sowie aus Medien(daten-)analysen zusammengestellt.
Trump, Campaign, Twitter, Social Media, Politics, Presidential Elections, USA
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Anonymous, 2017, “Unpresidented” - Twitter as a Tool in Donald Trump’s Social Media Campaign, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/375096


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