Senter for kvinne- og kjønnsforskning

Women, men and twitter: colliding sex and politics in an election campaign

Professor of Gender and Media at the University of Newcastle, Karen Ross, will hold a seminar at the Centre for Women's and Gender Research (SKOK) on Thursday 12 October.

This presentation draws on a recent research project which explored the ways in which women and men politicians used Twitter as a tool of political communication during the 2015 British General Elections Campaign, with a view to identifying if and how gender was implicated in different tweeting behaviours. I suggest that sex was important in some aspects but not in others and that party affiliation was just as important in predicting certain behaviours. Key findings include that women were less frequent tweeters, more likely to send original tweets, include weblinks and tweet about 'soft' policy issues, and were slightly less likely to have their tweets favourited or retweeted than men. Men were more likely to include photos and use @messages and hashtags and much more likely to tweet negative or hostile content than women. In all these gender-based differences, there was considerable variation within the binary categories of women and men. Overall, politicians mostly use Twitter in a one-way rather than dialogic mode and are yet to fully exploit the potential of social media to interact with citizens in a more engaged manner. I also consider some of the broader issues concerned with researching gender, politics and media, particularly in relation to identity and subject positions.

The seminar is organized in collaboration with the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen.