Did the Twittersphere help Donald Trump become the Republican nominee for president? A Wharton analysis of tweets sent before, during and after the 2016 Republican primary debates found an interesting correlation — as well as some sobering trends. Substantive tweets had less staying power than sensational tweets, which later shaped public opinion about the debates.

These and other findings are at the heart of the research paper “Make America Tweet Again: A Dynamic Analysis of Micro-blogging During the 2016 U.S. Republican Primary Debate.” The paper’s authors are Wharton marketing professors Ron Berman and Robert Meyer, Wharton doctoral candidate Colman Humphrey and Shiri Melumad, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University.

Berman and Humphrey spoke with Knowledge@Wharton recently about their research on the impact that micro-blogging sites have on voters’ opinions.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: Can you tell me why you chose to analyze Twitter versus other types of communication?

Read all at http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/sensational-tweets-and-the-rise-of-trump/

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