How Twitter's affordances empower dissent and information dissemination: An exploratory study of the rogue and alt government agency Twitter accounts

Shannon M. Oltmann, Troy B. Cooper, Nicholas Proferes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

At least 102 “rogue” and “alt” government agency Twitter accounts—purported to be run by government officials—emerged in the immediate wake of the election of Donald Trump. These accounts offered a resistance-focused narrative about the administration. In this paper, we ask who the people are that ran these accounts, what their goals or purposes were during this time, and how they used Twitter to achieve their goals. To answer these questions, we conducted twelve interviews with some of the individuals behind the accounts and descriptively analyzed 43,569 tweets generated by these 102 accounts during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. We discovered that not all accounts were not actually being run by agency employees, and that the account administrators had goals of creating a network of “resistance” by sharing scientific information, correcting misinformation, and contributing to the news cycle. They relied on the referentiality that Twitter affords through its features to expand beyond 140 characters to do this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101475
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Affordances
  • Elections
  • Government
  • Political discourse
  • Political dissent
  • Resistance
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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