Connected: Polarization in Online Environments


Author/Creator ORCID




Stevenson University Online


Communication Studies

Citation of Original Publication



This case study will analyze research surrounding the rhetoric of polarization in online environments and how it can influence behavior and emotion. Through the analysis and review of three socialites who were vocal on Twitter regarding polarized ideas three groups, hate groups, fandom groups, and political parties, are cross analyzed to see how individuals who identify with these groups show trends in rhetoric. This text will highlight connections and differences in the rhetorical styles used by each group and how they potentially inspired behavior from March through October of 2020 in United States based online environments during a number of Black Lives Matter and Make America Great Again protests. Polarization is defined and applied to each public figures’ tweets within the time frame are examined for potential ability to influence behavior. The purpose of this research is to examine how each group showed differences or similarities in outgroup versus ingroup rhetoric and better understand how such rhetoric can be increasingly impactful when introduced or reinforced in online settings as social media use rises worldwide.