Twitter Communication Among Democracy Actors: How Interacting With Journalists and Elected Officials Influence People’s Government Performance Assessment and Trust

Homero Gil de Zúñiga, Manuel Goyanes, Araceli Mateos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research highlights broad democratic benefits of sustained public trust in the government, and the confidence that the government performs responsively addressing citizens’ problems (i.e., unemployment, cost of living). As social media enhances citizens’ opportunities to interact with journalists and elected officials, little is known about these communication effects on people’s government trust, and citizens’ evaluations about how well the government is addressing important society problems. Relying on a two-wave US representative panel survey data, this study builds on prior literature to introduce Twitter Communication with Democracy Actors: journalists and politicians, as a single, yet two-dimensional construct. Then, advancing different ordinary least squares (OLS) predictive panel models, results indicate that people who interact with democratic actors on Twitter trust the government and assess its overall functioning more positively. Additional moderating tests indicate social media interactions with democracy actors help citizens who might need it the most, specifically those who have lower levels of external political efficacy. The study provides theoretical implications of findings and suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Media and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Computer Science Applications

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