European Integration - Realities and Perspectives. Proceedings 2019
The Youth of Today - The Generation of the Global
The Personalization of Political Communication in Social Media Era. Case
Study: Gabriela Firea, The Mayor of Bucharest
Adina-Loredana Dogaru-Tulică 1
Abstract: Social media era brought a major change in the way politicians communicate online with their voters.
Social platforms are bringing politicians closer to people and communication is now more interactive and more
personalized. The paper examines how a woman politician, the mayor of Bucharest, the capital city of Romania,
uses social media to promote personalized messages in daily political communication during an ordinary period
of office. Politicians use personalized communication in the online environment to transmit both personal
information about family life, religious orientation, personal experiences, and to disseminate i nformation of
public interest that has not been made public by traditional media. This fades the boundary between what is
public and what is private. There is a broad agreement on the fact that the personalization of the political
message must be studied as a multidimensional phenomenon (Holtz-Bacha et alii, 2014; Nave, N. et alii, 2018)
being “a natural consequence of transformations at the level of political and media systems, at the level of
society and public culture” (Toader, 2017) transforming politicians into “intimate strangers” (Stainer, 2007).
The research analyzes the personalized messages on the Facebook page of Gabriela Firea, the mayor of
Bucharest, between 1st of July and 31st December 2018 on quantitative criteria, as well as the reactions of the
online public and is part of a larger research work that approaches the triad of women political leadership, social
media (Facebook) and political communication from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Keywords: political message; Facebook; individualization; social media reactions;
Social media brought a major change in how politicians communicate online with their voters. Social
platforms bring politicians closer to people and communication is now more interactive and
personalized. Politicians are exposed to public space both as professionals and as private individuals.
Social media, especially Facebook, highlights politicians as individuals rather than as members of a
political party, thus causing the political arena to embrace personalized communication, providing the
context that favours the personalization of the political message.
Political communication is becoming more personalized, politicians seem to choose a role to play and
“the image of politician prevails in relation to the personality of the politician”. Politicians prefer to
improve their public image and citizens come into contact more with “virtual realities” and less with
face-to-face politicians. (Fârte, 2004/2005, p. 106) Social media allows emotional connection with users
1 PhD in progress, Doctoral School in Communication Sciences, Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences,
University of Bucharest (FJSC), Address: Complex Studențesc "Leu", Corp A, Bulevardul Iuliu Maniu 1-3, București 061071,
Tel.: 021 318 1555, Romania; E-mail: email@example.com.