Piecing elections together in the 21st century: Social media, outreach strategies, & community engagement

Joshua Acevedo, University of Texas at El Paso


This thesis analyzes the role of social media usage in campaigns and explores methods for operationalizing this campaign phenomenon. Understanding social media and its connection to politics is challenging, for countless researchers have found it difficult to try to explore a relationship between social media and political campaigns. While social media is relatively new and has been on the rise in recent years, there are challenges associated with measurement and capturing relationships. I will first provide a literature review noting key works on the subject that offer valuable insights on the importance of social media and its influence on the political sphere. Additionally, new research has begun to emerge where more recent works have started to capture important relationships. Along those lines, in this thesis I will be further exploring the latest works and will provide my own insights and contributions on the matter. In doing so, I will include insights from personal experiences to illustrate the role social media can play across campaigns and in community engagement. Therein, I include a content analysis of Beto O’Rourke’s 2012 Congressional bid with examples of how his campaign provided informative and creative posts where people were compelled to share ideas about and discuss certain issues, in turn lending support for him that may have helped at the polls. I then conclude with a summary and the implications of my insights for future research.

Subject Area

Political science

Recommended Citation

Acevedo, Joshua, "Piecing elections together in the 21st century: Social media, outreach strategies, & community engagement" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10000808.