The Final Countdown

We are in the last week of research this summer – what a ride it has been. Reflecting on the past few months, I have never endured such an intense period of rigorous academic investment. In the few days left I am finishing up my dataset and performing statistical analysis.

Over the past year, Twitter has been monumentally brought to the forefront of social media use. The Trump presidency has exponentially increased the use of Twitter by the public and (most importantly) by political elites. When I set out to create a study in October of 2016 I was unaware that Twitter would be a very, very different beast only three short months later. The experience I have gained this summer accessing Twitter API through Python and manually collecting data on Twitter itself have laid the groundwork for my larger goals. Moving forward, I am interested in conducting an Honors Thesis on the differences in party use of Twitter and a chart of the changes in Twitter use of the past year. Although I will need mountains more data than I currently possess now, the work I’ve completed this summer has crucially sculpted my research desires and understanding.

The gubernatorial results I have compiled have been intriguing. Party absolutely impacts social media use, and the data I have regarding the VA and NJ gubernatorial races (both are contested without an incumbent) strongly supports this. Additionally I have gone back far into Twitter and tracked the action on Twitter throughout the 2016 gubernatorial races. As 2017 is an off year, 2016 has far more races. However, as the 2017 elections are now under the Trump presidency the use of Twitter this year is remarkably higher. This, in accordance with Twitter data which shows the growth in users since the presidency began shows that Trump’s use has not only increased use on Twitter, but increased the outreach of political elites with the general public.

As this post comes to a close, I am as always thankful for the work I have been able to conduct this summer. The rest of my night will be spent comparing the amount of responses to tweets between candidates! Truly an exciting outlet.

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