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Keywords:

  • microblogging;
  • election campaign;
  • online social networking;
  • political communication

The present study focuses on how candidates in the Dutch general elections of 2010 use Twitter, a popular microblogging and social networking service. Specifically the study focuses on explaining why some candidates are more likely to adopt Twitter, have larger networks, and show more reciprocation than other candidates. The innovation hypothesis, predicting that candidates from less established and smaller parties will use Twitter more extensively, is unsupported. This suggests that normalization of campaign practices is present on Twitter, not changing existing communication practices. The findings do show that being an early adopter of these new technologies is more effective than adoption shortly before Election Day.