Abstract and Keywords
While social media data present a plethora of new opportunities to study interpersonal political communication in ways often not feasible in the study of face-to-face conversations, the vast majority of research to date addresses content solely via data-driven sentiment analysis instead of theory-driven political communication analysis. This chapter argues that a fruitful path forward using textual social media data is to think more seriously about what can be learned broadly about the processes of interpersonal political communication, both online and offline. Social media data can be used to better understand phenomena about which a considerable amount is known, such as opinion leadership and emotional response to elite political communication. These data are also uniquely suited to study phenomena that have been previously unexplored because of a lack of suitable information, such as the operation of emotion in interpersonal political communication.
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