xvi Introduction Tweets during the 2020 Presidential Campaign,” the authors first identify the issues that voters believed were important that year. Using a computerized, dictionary-driven content analysis, they then analyze the frequency and pol- icy emphasis of tweets posted by the two major political parties. The authors also examine how Twitter users engaged with the issues put forth by the political parties through retweets. Their findings demonstrate how the two major political parties used the Twitter platform differently in 2020, as well as how issues identified as important by voters were reflected in their social media communication in what was a unique campaign year. In Chapter 7, “Donald Trump and the COVID-19 Information Environ- ment in Campaign 2020,” authors Joshua M. Scacco, Jonathon Smith, and Kevin Coe analyze the content of the White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefings and the possibility that they may have influenced knowledge acquisition in the electorally important state of Florida. They first conduct a keyword analysis of the transcripts of 41 press briefings where Trump spoke about the virus’s origins, “cures,” and negative outcomes. Using survey research data, they then examine the influence of such briefings on the knowledge acquisition of Floridians as to the origins, treatments, and nega- tive outcomes of the coronavirus. When considering the possibility of knowl- edge acquisition, they place Trump’s potential contribution within the broader sociocultural environment in which COVID information—and misinformation—emerged and circulated. Chapter 8, “Forced Online: The Promise and Challenge of Relational Organizing Technology in a 2020 State-Level Campaign,” examines whether creative new digital technologies adopted in the midst of the COVID-19 pan- demic were successful in building relationships with supporters and voters with whom the campaign could not interact in person. Authors Ashley Mud- diman and Cameron W. Piercy were invited to join weekly meetings con- ducted as part of a state-level Senate race in a small midwestern state as the campaign transitioned to online canvassing. They analyze their data using a constant comparison approach, which incorporates the verbatim meeting transcripts and the researchers’ ethnographic observations to generate inter- subjective understanding of the context. In all, their findings reveal a tension in the campaign between building and controlling relationships. In Chapter 9, “‘The SPN Family Votes!’: Celebrity Endorsements in Online Fan Communities,” Ashley A. Hinck employs a case study approach to exam- ine the tweets and YouTube videos of the creator and actors of the CW pro- gram, Supernatural, in their support for the Biden-Harris campaign. She argues that personalizing popular culture celebrities transforms them from a cultural elite to a friend and fellow citizen, while the personalization of political surrogates transforms them from a political elite to a fellow fan. Ultimately, Hinck shows that the personalization of politicians and popu- lar culture celebrities makes fandom a significant location for political
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