The speech we miss: How keyword-based data collection obscures youth participation in online political discourse | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 5, Issue 1
  • E-ISSN: 2665-9085


In this work, we leverage a panel of over 1.6 million Twitter users matched with public voter records to assess how a standard keyword-based approach to social media data collection performs in the context of participatory politics, and we critically examine the speech this method leaves behind. We find that keyword classifiers undercount young people’s participation in online political discourse, and that valuable political expression is lost in the process. We argue that a mainstream keyword approach to collecting social media data is not well-suited to the participatory politics associated with young people and may reinforce a false perception of youth political apathy as a result.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): keyword classifiers; online discourse; participatory politics
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