Tweeting the World a Better Place Motivations and Values Underpinning the Creation of a Digital Cosmopolitan Persona


Fergal Lenehan , Roman Lietz

Year: 2023

Persona Studies, 8(3), 17–34.

Keywords: Cosmopolitan Twitter, Digital Interculturality, Postdigitality, Online Persona, Digital Civic Engagement
Language(s): English

While the reputation of the platform Twitter was severely dented during the presidency of President Donald Trump, who often retweeted far-right content, this article engages from the argumentative assumption that Twitter is an inherently cosmopolitan online space, both in terms of statements found there and of the lived experience of users on the platform itself. Cosmopolitanism is understood as a normative concept and as a descriptive term for increasing cultural interconnectedness. Twitter users may engage in pursuing liberal aims by taking responsibility for or identifying with all humanity, and thus enact the more conceptual ideas of cosmopolitanism into pragmatic and viral utterances. They may also be deemed cosmopolitan influencers. Based on qualitative interviews with ten purposely selected Twitter users, it is argued that the motivation behind such online political engagement is chiefly societal and activist, and stems from a desire to change society and, indeed, to “give back to society”. Tweeters are guided by an array of values, such as authenticity, solidarity, justice and equality, and freedom of expression. These socially-engaged Twitter users also often see themselves as exceptional, and able to view social developments others cannot see. The data shows that positive reinforcing as well as negative discouraging feedback plays a crucial role and gives hints for the promotion of Cosmopolitan Twitter.

Post created by: Fergal Lenehan

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