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Tweeting for office: decoding digital relevance in Spanish general elections 2011–2023

María Isabel Alonso-Magdaleno (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain)
Jesús García-García (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 24 June 2024




The paper analyses the role and impact of Twitter in Spanish political communication, specifically focusing on how the platform influences the visibility and relevance of political candidates' messages during various election campaigns and across various political dimensions – government vs. opposition, traditional vs. populist, and left-wing vs. right-wing.


The study employs a longitudinal quantitative analysis perspective regarding the number and impact of messages posted by the main candidates in the six general elections held in Spain during the period 2011–2023. The tweets were automatically collected through the Twitter API for 54 days, between the call for elections and voting. The equalisation versus normalisation framework regarding social media is used.


The findings showed that the dissemination of messages on Twitter exhibited a skewed distribution characterized by notable differences in the unequal relevance of tweets between candidates on the left-right and traditional-populist axes, especially among the tweets with the highest impact. Tweets from opposition and populist candidates presented a greater level of relevance than those from government and conventional candidates. No discernible differences were identified along the ideological spectrum, indicating a high degree of cross-partisan engagement on social media. Findings indicate that opposition and populist candidates are strategically utilising Twitter, challenging the notion of normalisation and emphasising the equalising potential of social networks.


The study offers a long-term view of political communication, which is relatively rare in social media research, often focused on shorter time frames or single election cycles. The multidimensional comparison provides nuanced insights into how different political identities and affiliations are manifested and engaged with on social media.



Alonso-Magdaleno, M.I. and García-García, J. (2024), "Tweeting for office: decoding digital relevance in Spanish general elections 2011–2023", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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