Battle in Twitter: Comparative Analysis of Online Political Discourse (Cases of Macron, Trump, Putin, and Medvedev)

  • Radomir BolgovEmail author
  • Igor Chernov
  • Igor Ivannikov
  • Dmitry Katsy
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 947)


This case study is an example of interdisciplinary research, which couples the linguistic aspects with the study of public political discourse in social media. The purpose of the study is to identify how “realism” terms and national/global agenda are represented in Twitter discourse of leaders of countries which claim to be global powers today. Obviously, it is impossible to claim a high status in the modern world without participation in global discussions (including the level of influence on public opinion in Twitter). We collect data from official accounts of the U.S. President Donald Trump, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, and Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Then we propose a research method developed by us which contains 5 stages. The main method of research is traditional content analysis, not only selective (under this or that theory), but also “front-line” one. We are interested in the subject matter (key, most frequent vocabulary) that dominates the considered texts. We separate the same amounts of text (approximately 33 000 words) in the content of the Twitter pages of Trump, Macron, Putin and Medvedev. Then we quantify the words and identify the key concepts which are specific for political realism and political idealism. We perform a “frontal” general analysis of all the most frequently used concepts. We make a quantitative assessment of the nature of the use of political leaders’ key concepts (this stage of analysis is divided on several sub-stages). Finally we compare the frequency of concepts’ use by leaders of the West and Russia.

Putin-Medvedev pair has obvious coincidences with Trump at the external level, but a significant divergence in the base level, i.e. this is another picture of the world, another choice of subjects, in contrast to Trump-Macron pair. Russian leaders are focused on domestic problems of the country. Global agenda is not sufficiently represented in Twitter accounts of Russian leaders. Trump and Macron discuss common (global) themes herewith they have different ideological preferences.


Twitter Social media Political discourse Content analysis Comparative analysis 


  1. 1.
    Aharony, N.: Twitter use by three political leaders: an exploratory analysis. Online Inf. Rev. 36(4), 587–603 (2012). Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ausserhofer, J., Maireder, A.: National politics on Twitter. Inf. Commun. Soc. 16(3), 291–314 (2013). Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baumer, E., Sinclair, J., Irvine, B.: ‘America is like metamucil’: fostering critical and creative thinking about metaphor in political blogs. In: CHI 2010: Expressing and Understanding Opinions in Social Media, pp. 1437–1446 (2010).
  4. 4.
    Beer, F., Balleck, B.: Realist/idealist texts: psychometry and semantics. Peace Psychol. Rev. 1(1), 38–44 (1994)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bodrunova, S.S., Litvinenko, A.A., Gavra, D.P., Yakunin, A.V.: Twitter-based discourse on migrants in Russia: the case of 2013 bashings in Biryulyovo. Int. Rev. Manage. Mark. 5, 97–104 (2015)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bolgov, R., Filatova, O., Tarnavsky, A.: Analysis of public discourse about Donbas conflict in Russian social media. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security, ICCWS 2016, pp. 37–46 (2016)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    van Dijk, T.A.: Cognitive situation models in discourse production: the expression of ethnic situations in prejudiced discourse. In: Forgas, J.P. (ed.) Language and Social Situations. Springer Series in Social Psychology, pp. 61–79. Springer, New York (1985). Scholar
  8. 8.
    Doroshenko, L., Schneider, T., Kofanov, D., et al.: Ukrainian nationalist parties and connective action: an analysis of electoral campaigning and social media sentiments. Inf. Commun. Soc. 1–20 (2018).
  9. 9.
    Fischer, E., Reuber, R.A.: Social interaction via new social media: (how) can interactions on Twitter affect effectual thinking and behavior? J. Bus. Ventur. 26, 1–18 (2011). Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gillen, J., Merchant, G.: Contact calls: Twitter as a dialogic social and linguistic practice. Lang. Sci. 35, 47–58 (2013). Scholar
  11. 11.
    Habermas, J.: Relationship to the world and rational aspects of action in four sociological concepts of action. Sociol. obozrenie (Sociol. Rev.) 7(1) (2008). [in Russian]Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Marvick, A., Boyd, D.: I tweet honestly, i tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New Media Soc. 13(1), 114–133 (2010). Scholar
  13. 13.
    Munson, S., Resnik, P.: The Prevalence of Political Discourse in Non-Political Blogs (2010)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Page, R.: The linguistics of self-branding and micro-celebrity in Twitter: the role of hashtags. Discourse Commun. 6(2), 181–210 (2012). Scholar
  15. 15.
    Potapova, R.K.: Social network discourse as an object of interdisciplinary research. In: Proceedings of the 2nd international conference “Discourse as social activity: priorities and prospects”, pp. 20–22 (2014). [in Russian]Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Spina, S., Cancila, J.: Gender Issues in the interactions of italian politicians on twitter: identity, representation and flows of conversation. Int. J. Cross-Cult. Stud. Environ. Commun. 2(2), 147–157 (2013)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tregubov, N.A.: Articulation of ideas about political modernization in rhetoric of Putin and Medvedev: an attempt of comparative content analysis. Vestnik Permskogo universiteta. Seria: Politologiya 3(11), 69–81 (2010). [in Russian]Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Tumasjan, A., Sprenger, T., Sandner, P., Welpe, I.: Election forecast with Twitter: how 140 characters reflect the political landscape. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev. 29, 1–17 (2010). Scholar
  19. 19.
    Woolley, J., Limperos, A., Oliver, M.: The 2008 presidential election, 2.0: a content analysis of user-generated political Facebook groups. Mass Commun. Soc. 13(5), 631–652 (2010). Scholar
  20. 20.
    Xifra, J., Grau, F.: Nanoblogging PR: the discourse on public relations in Twitter. Public Relat. Rev. 36, 171–174 (2010). Scholar
  21. 21.
    Yakoba, I.A.: Deconstruction of Donald Trump’s discourse (cases of his 2016 elections speeches). Diskurs Pi 1(26), 164–169 (2017). [in Russian]Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Yardi, S., Boyd, D.: Dynamic debates: an analysis of group polarization over time on Twitter. Bull. Sci. Technol. Soc. 30(5), 316–327 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zappavigna, M.: Enacting Identity in microblogging through ambient affiliation. Discourse Commun. 8, 1–20 (2013). Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radomir Bolgov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Igor Chernov
    • 1
  • Igor Ivannikov
    • 1
  • Dmitry Katsy
    • 2
  1. 1.Saint Petersburg State UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Bonch-Bruevich Saint - Petersburg State University of TelecommunicationsSaint PetersburgRussia

Personalised recommendations