This Major Research paper will focus on the Republican American politician Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is a political figure who has played an interesting role in Republican politics over the last four years. As an unexpected candidate for John
McCain’s 2008 Vice Presidential nomination, Palin garnered unprecedented media attention for a running mate. Sarah Palin is a media celebrity, a potential Republican candidate for the 2012 election, and an international household name. The purpose of this research is to explore Sarah Palin as a political actor and celebrity icon by analyzing her use of new media as a platform for her political rhetoric. Specifically, this study looks at the discourse used in Sarah Palin’s social media campaign, with a direct focus on the social media outlet of Facebook. Facebook is a non-traditional political media platform, which allows politicians contact with millions of users in a format that is social, personal and direct. Many politicians have been utilizing new media platforms in order to communicate their political messages to new and diverse audiences. This study analyzes how Sarah Palin is utilizing the medium of Facebook, and how the language she uses in communicating to her supporters affects their experience of current political events. This study aims to show the relationship between the rhetoric she chooses to employ, and the comment activity of her supporters on Facebook. Selections of Sarah Palin’s Facebook Note documents were chosen in order to narrow the scope of this research. The research questions that has directed this study is: Through the social media platform of Facebook, what function does Palin’s use of metaphor play in the reciprocal discourse of supporter comments? Do literary devices such as metaphor affect the nature of audience participation in political social media?