Follow and Tweet: The Partisan Tilt and Political Ideology Preferences of Army Officers on Social Media

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2021

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Abstract

This study seeks to describe the political profiles of Army officers through data scraping the Twitter Application Programming Interface (API) and LinkedIn platforms. After creating and analyzing a database of 500 Army officers, the thesis finds that (1) the majority of Army officers on Twitter are not partisan and are not extreme in its political views; (2) most Army officers on Twitter appear to tilt to the Republican Party over the Democratic Party; (3) a slight majority of field grade officers on Twitter, specifically majors and lieutenant colonels, appear to tilt to the Democratic Party over the Republican Party; (4) politically interested officers express more politically liberal sentiments than conservative sentiments; (5) female officers appear to tilt to the Democratic Party and express more liberal sentiments compared to male officers.

These findings were the result of data scraping the number of Democratic or Republican politicians each officer follows and the political content of what each officer tweets to determine partisan tilt and ideological preferences. These findings demonstrate little evidence of a politicized and partisan Army officer corps. Army officers are also unaware of how much political and personal information they expose on social media platforms. Army organizations and officers may benefit from reconsidering their use of social media as the information they provide may degrade the leadership of their units and bolster our adversaries’ information operations capabilities.

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Kim, Eric Tae Hyoung (2021). Follow and Tweet: The Partisan Tilt and Political Ideology Preferences of Army Officers on Social Media. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/23146.

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