Personalization of politicians on Instagram: what Generation Z wants to see in political posts

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While research has examined how politicians engage in personalized presentations of themselves and their policies, and how journalists personalize political coverage, few studies have asked voters what types of personalization they wish to see from politicians. In-depth interviews with Generation Z, who heavily use Instagram, identify visual and verbal elements of politicians’ Instagram posts that they consider influential on their beliefs and actions. Responses reveal several elements, including two that expand the contours of what constitutes persuasive political personalization. Successful personalization includes politicians participating in two-way conversations with followers and adopting a backstage pass aesthetic when showing what politicians do on the job and how they feel about it. Both tactics can make politicians seem credible and personally relatable, which is the foundation for effective electronic word-of-mouth communication.

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DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2022.2027500