From rhetoric to record: linking tweets to legislative agendas in congress

Annelise Russell, Jiebing Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Social media incentivizes members of Congress to routinely advertise their policy agenda for the public; however, it is unclear whether those expressed policy priorities are linked to their legislative behaviour. The incongruous nature of unlimited, online messages with constrained policy agendas necessitates assessing the association between what politicians say and their institutional actions. Using a dataset of senators’ tweets from the 114th Congress, we analyse policy rhetoric on Twitter and bill sponsorship across a variety of issues in the Senate to show that senators’ policy priorities on Twitter are representative of congressional activity. These results broaden the application of social media as a tool for policy agendas – extending theories of limited attention to lawmakers’ political communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-620
Number of pages13
JournalThe Journal of Legislative Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Twitter
  • agenda-setting
  • congress
  • limited attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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