Thesis Title

Mixing Friends With Politics: a Functional Analysis of Presidential Candidate's Social Networking Profiles

Date of Graduation

Spring 2008

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Dudash

Keywords

politics, functional theory, social networking Websites, acclaims, primary election, political communication

Subject Categories

Communication

Abstract

The 2008 Presidential Primary has provided a unique look into political communication. As social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook increase in popularity, politicians are turning to these websites as a new campaign tool. This is the first year in which social networking websites were used in a Presidential Primary, and this calls for examination of how the candidates are constructing their images as they utilize this new political tool. Benoit's Functional Theory offers a unique assessment of candidate profiles through contents analysis. By applying his theory, candidate pages can be examined to further understand this process. It was found that candidates use an acclaiming strategy at high frequencies on their profiles. Policy issues as opposed to character issues were the predominant choice for how candidates presented their information. Individual candidates constructed their images at different levels, with underdog candidates providing more information on their profiles, as opposed to the favorites in the race who stayed with traditional forms of campaign advertising.

Copyright

© Jordan Lee Compton

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Dissertation/Thesis

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