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Publication Date

Summer 2015

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Journalism and Mass Communications


Diana Stover


Communication, Political Efficacy, San Francisco, Social Media, Twitter, Uses and Gratification

Subject Areas

Mass communication


The use of Twitter for political communication has changed the way constituents connect with politicians. As this social media website continues to expand and become adopted by more and more users, it becomes increasingly important for communication scholars to study the impact it has on politics in America. This study focused on the Twitter followers of San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, an openly gay politician. San Francisco’s District 8 is unique because it encompasses the Castro, a neighborhood with a high population of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) residents. This study sought to determine why the politician’s constituents follow him on Twitter. A series of tweets were sent to the Supervisor’s constituent Twitter followers with a link to an online survey that asked survey takers to answer questions about why they follow the politician on the social media website. Individuals followed Supervisor Wiener on Twitter to gather political information. In addition, individuals felt a sense of political efficacy from following the politician on Twitter. Not only are people using Twitter to gather political information, they are also using the social media website to influence politics. The results from this study also showed that Twitter followers of Supervisor Wiener felt that Twitter resembled an echo chamber of similar political thoughts and opinions. Although Twitter is sometimes regarded as a series of mindless tweets consisting of no more than 140 characters, the results from this study showed that individuals are turning to Twitter for political information and empowerment.