This doctoral dissertation examines the growing impact of the two converging dynamics that are responsible for the reconfiguration of the online and, to some extent, real-world political communication, mobilization and organizing dynamic in the United States in recent years. These two converging dynamics, which constitute the core of the online politicking 3.0 model, are the grassroots-intensive uncontrolled decentralization and hyper-fragmentation of digital politicking. It is argued in this dissertation that the Tea Party movement is one of the first large scale manifestations of online
politicking 3.0 in the United States.
In order to illustrate this point, this dissertation offers an extensive quantitative content analysis of slightly more than 1.7 million tweets with at least one #teaparty hashtag that were posted on Twitter’s public timeline between December 9, 2009 and March 19, 2011, a time period roughly coinciding with the 2010 Midterm U.S. election cycle. A heuristic review of some facets of #teaparty tweets is also conducted in order to contextualize some of the quantitative data. This dissertation concludes that the the communication, organizing and organizing
impact of the Tea Party is likely to be felt in the future. It is expected to have deep transformational effects on the structure of the political mediascape and, to a broader extent, on participatory engagement patterns in the United States and many other national contexts over the next decade.