- Gendered campaign tweets: The cases of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
- Public Relations Review
- Volume | Issue number
- 42 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Studies have found that female politicians tend to emphasize their masculine personality traits and feminine issues to counteract damaging gender stereotypes. As Twitter has emerged as a major digital PR tool for politics over the last decade, it provides a text to examine political candidates’ PR strategies. Focusing on the cases of the two then-front runners for the 2016 U.S. presidential election – Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the present study examines differences in the ways in which they self-present and communicate with voters through their websites and Twitter. Content analysis of their websites and sampled tweets (N = T295, C228) reveals significant differences in their emphasis on traits and issues, main content of tweet, main source of retweet, multimedia use, and the level of civility. While Clinton emphasizes her masculine traits and feminine issues more than her feminine traits and masculine issues, Trump gives more weight to masculine issues, paying no particular attention to his traits. The differences were found consistently on their websites and on Twitter. Trump utilizes user-generated content as sources of his tweets significantly more often; while three quarters of Clinton’s tweets are original content, half of Trump’s tweets are retweets of and replies to citizens. The most popular content is opinion about public issues for Clinton, and others’ endorsements or supportive quotes for Trump. One out of ten (10.5%) Trump tweets include uncivil wording. While Clinton actively utilizes multimedia such as graphics, videos, and photos, or links to other webpages (58.3%), 79.3% of Trump tweets are text-only.
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