טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentSalzer Chaim
SubjectIs There No Bad Publicity in Politics? Negative
Valence and Attention on Twitter
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Eldad Yechiam


Abstract

Increased attention towards organizations or individuals such as celebrities and politicians greatly influences profits and chances of achieving social and political goals. Although most organizations and individuals usually attempt to attract positive public opinion, negative emotions are known to exert a powerful effect on capturing attention- even more so than positive ones. Hence, in situations where people compete for attention, such as politics, negative emotions expressed towards individuals may predict the degree of attention the individual arouses. We measured the emotional valence of tweets mentioning political figures and their correlations with number of followers on the Twitter social network (i.e., the number of individuals who have opted to see all tweets associated with a particular political figure). We find that negative valence towards US Members of Congress (n = 523) and UK members of the House of Commons (n = 555) is correlated with increases in the number of followers. In contrast, a reverse trend emerges for non-politicians (n = 9,477). In addition, we find that increased followers are related to increased vote shares (i.e., the proportion of votes received during election). Thus, the current study also provides a real-world example of how negative emotions may have a result opposite of that intended.