Date of Award

12-2013

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Chair

Marija Bekafigo

Committee Chair Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 2

Kate Greene

Committee Member 2 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 3

Troy Gibson

Committee Member 3 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

Since 2006, increasingly more politicians have joined , and are active on, social media networks, in order to reach out to constituents. However, politicians, such as Anthony Weiner, have started to find themselves in the middle of Twitter scandals and criticism, since their posts are openly available to the public. These ramifications may be leading politicians to delete their tweets, but thanks to the Sunlight Foundation and its website Politwoops, deleted tweets by politicians are now archived and ripe for political research. This raises the question Which members of Congress are deleting tweets and why? Thus, I conduct the first known qualitative study on Congress and deleted tweets, to determine what members may be trying to delete. An empirical analysis on raw data, including 500 deleted tweets by Congress members, was used to discover which posts, and by which members, are deleted more often. I hypothesize that Congress members, specifically Republican Senators, are more likely to delete negative tweets, such as posts that are unprofessional, against their constituents' views, or contain controversial issues, in order to ensure public support and avoid backlash.

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