• Article

When (and why) interpersonal talk matters for campaigns

We discuss how selected theoretical advances address key gaps in our understanding of the intersection of conversation and campaigns. Included are the possibilities that interpersonal interaction might spread inoculation, that social network density might affect the translation of mass media messages into public sentiment, that campaign message form might prompt people to talk, that conversation might be a crucial link between campaign efforts and key political outcomes, and that timing might matter in predicting when talk will have an effect on elections. We also highlight some opportunities for inquiry that these ideas present. Because conversation appears to be a strategic response to increased issue salience and relevance, in part, systematic exploration of the social motives for conversation in campaign contexts promises to be particularly fruitful.


Southwell, B., & Yzer, MC. (2009). When (and why) interpersonal talk matters for campaigns. Communication Theory, 19(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2008.01329.x