Examining the Dynamics of Uncivil Discourse Between Sub-National Political Officials and the Public on Twitter

Juliana L. Barbati, Stephen A. Rains, Kate Kenski, Yotam Shmargad, Steven Bethard, Kevin Coe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite agreement about the challenges posed by incivility for democratic discourse, much remains to be learned about how incivility manifests in interactions between the public and political elites. We examine the connections between top-down and bottom-up incivility among 22 local and state elected officials and the public over an 18-month period on Twitter. Our analyses show that incivility in a tweet from an elected official significantly increases the odds of incivility in subsequent tweets made by the public that are directed at the official. Similarly, the presence of incivility in tweets by the public directed at elected officials increases the odds of incivility in subsequent tweets made by officials. We discuss the implications of these findings for scholarship on incivility and political communication more broadly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMass Communication and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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