Less Is More Ideological: Conservative and Liberal Communication on Twitter in the 2016 Race

  • Morgan Marietta
  • Tyler Cote
  • Tyler Farley
  • Paul Murphy


Prior to the 2016 race, Twitter was seen as a more Democratic than Republican campaign platform. In light of the extraordinary use of social media by the Trump campaign, this chapter examines how ideological communication by either faction can be advanced or limited within this medium. We argue that the simplest and most inciting aspects of each ideology can be communicated clearly, but not the more complex or mundane facets. This suggests that certain issues will be emphasized and others neglected on Twitter by each side. These hypotheses are borne out in the 2016 Twitter campaigns, in which Clinton and Trump focused on only specific aspects and issues of the competing ideologies, and followers retweeted in a similar pattern. In the Twitter campaign, less can indeed be more ideological when the ideologies are communicated in their reduced forms.


Ideology Social media Twitter Psychology of threats Engagement 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morgan Marietta
    • 1
  • Tyler Cote
    • 1
  • Tyler Farley
    • 1
  • Paul Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsLowellUSA

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