Women politicians are more engaging: male versus female politicians’ ability to generate users’ engagement on social media during an election campaign

Moran Yarchi, Tal Samuel-Azran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

In light of past studies’ findings that male politicians usually receive more salient coverage in the traditional media, this study examines whether social media provide a more equal opportunity platform for female politicians to generate users’ engagement and mobilize their supporters. Our study focuses on male versus female politicians’ ability to engage social media users during an election campaign, using the Israeli 2015 campaign as our case study. Female politicians’ posts generated significantly more user engagement in terms of the number of Likes and Shares in comparison to male politicians, while generating the same number of participants in their discussions. The results remained significant in a multilevel analysis, while controlling for other factors such as the politician’s age, party, ranking, and number of posts published by the politician. In terms of the posts’ content, an examination of their rhetoric did not reveal gender differences in their usage of authoritative voice, facts, and the use of emotions in their messages; however, analysis of the topics did suggest differences in the issues raised by male versus female politicians. The evidence strongly indicates that social media provides greater opportunities for female politicians to promote themselves and improve their status in the political power play.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-995
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Volume21
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Israel
  • election campaigns
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences

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