Social Media for Political Campaigns: An Examination of Trump’s and Clinton’s Frame Building and Its Effect on Audience Engagement

Abdulsamad Sahly, Chun Shao, K. Hazel Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigates cross-platform differences in social media by analyzing the contending candidates who represent different political ideology during the 2016 presidential election. Borrowing the frame-building and frame-effect perspectives, it examines the ways in which the two contending candidates (Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton) built their message frames in two different social platforms—Twitter (N = 3,805) and Facebook (N = 655)—and how the frame differences affected audience engagement in each platform. The results showed that Trump’s messages presented more variety in frame selection than Clinton’s, focusing on conflict and negative emotional frames on Twitter while displaying frequent positive emotional frames on Facebook. Clinton’s strategy relied heavily on conflict and positive emotional frames on both Twitter and Facebook. The results also suggested that for both Trump and Clinton followers on Twitter, conflict and morality frames consistently attracted retweeting behaviors and emotional frames attracted favoriting behaviors. However, Facebook engagement behaviors did not show a consistent pattern between the followers of the two candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Media and Society
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Audience engagement
  • Framing
  • Political campaign
  • Social media
  • Trump

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Computer Science Applications

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