The role of authenticity in electoral social media campaigns

Gabrielle Grow, Janelle Ward


Authenticity is a popular buzzword in electoral politics: Electoral candidates and politicians are expected to be authentic in their public interactions. Since 2008, campaigning via social media has become an integral part of elections in the United States, and continues to gain importance. In such an environment, this paper presents research into the role of authenticity in social media electoral campaigns. Using Gilpin, et al.’s (2010) definition of authenticity as the theoretical basis, interviews were conducted with U.S. Democrats to query their perceptions of candidates’ Facebook pages, and particularly in relation to authenticity. This study refines existing definitions of authenticity and offers insights into how electoral candidates can demonstrate authenticity in electoral social media campaigns.


authenticity, elections, politics, US, Facebook, social media

Full Text:



A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2020. ISSN 1396-0466.