Bras. Political Sci. Rev.2016;10(3):e0005.
How Important is Twitter to Local Elections in Brazil? A Case Study of Fortaleza City Council
Studies on the effects of the internet on elections have revealed how Social Network Sites (SNSs) are used by citizens to learn about, choose and contact their representatives. This article analyzes 27 Twitter accounts managed by Fortaleza’s city councilors who ran for reelection in October 2012. The study aimed to discover the importance of Twitter in the councilors’ campaign strategies: what kind of messages were sent by the councilors who adopted digital communication strategies to their followers, and the relationship between party affiliation and e-campaigns. The article shows that communitarian sociability, understood as face-to-face relations or interactions among individuals, affects how the internet is used in local campaigns, since there is no direct relationship between electoral success and the heavy use of Twitter by candidates, at least in proportional local elections (which are defined as cases in which candidates do not necessarily need to reach the votes of a majority of constituents, but only a part of them). However, those who adopt a digital communication strategy use it to broadcast their political platforms and promote their campaign events. Finally, except for small left-wing parties, there appears to be no relationship between party affiliation and e-campaigns.