Academics

#21: The French Elections and Social Media Part 2: Le Pen versus Macron and Predicting Election Outcomes, with Dr. Antoine Bevort

Dr. Antoine Bevort, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at le Cnam, gives his take on what a Marine Le Pen or Emmanuel Macron victory in the French elections would mean for France. We discuss Dr. Bevort’s research into how social media can be a predictor for public opinion, and we also touch upon how bots and fake accounts fit into the sociology theory of social capital.

You can find out more about Dr. Bevort and his research at www.antoinebevort.blogspot.com.

#14: The 2017 Dutch Elections and Political Campaigning on Social Media in the Netherlands, with Dr. Kristof Jacobs

Dr. Kristof Jacobs, Assistant Professor at Radboud University, joins the podcast ahead of the upcoming Dutch national elections to share his research on how political parties and strategists in the Netherlands use social media to campaign. We discuss the major role that Twitter plays in Dutch politics but also how parties are adopting newer social media platforms, like Instagram and Snapchat. We also talk about the difference between individual politicians’ social media use versus party communication more broadly. Dr. Jacobs outlines the major themes of this election, the Dutch attitudes towards fake news, Geert Wilder’s social media use, and the media’s coverage of the campaign.

You read more about his Kristof’s research in the book “Social Media, Parties, and Politics Inequalities.

#11: Social Media and Nonprofit Organizations Serving Immigrants in the United States, with Dr. Heath Brown

Dr. Heath Brown, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the City University of New York Graduate Center, joins the show to share his research on the political activity of nonprofit organizations serving immigrants and their communities. We discuss how these immigrant serving NGO’s use – or shy away from – political action and the role that social media plays in their communication strategy. Dr. Brown highlights that the low resources of these NGO’s, the diversity of their communities, and perceptions of authenticity as key factors motivating their social media adoption and strategy. You can read more about Dr. Brown’s research on this topic in his new book, Immigrants and Electoral Politics: Nonprofit Organizing in a Time of Demographic Change.

#10: Bots on Social Media and How They Impact News and Politics, with Samuel Woolley

This episode is all about bots on social media with guest Samuel Woolley, Director of Research of the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. We discuss exactly how users make bots, and the ways they are deployed on Facebook and Twitter to influence politics through, for example, spreading fake news or disrupting protests. Sam explains how bots are difficult to trace, since they are often geotagged in misleading locations or used for digital marketing. We also talk about bots in the latest 2016 US Presidential campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as well look forward a bit into how bots might evolve in the future.

You can follow Sam on Twitter @Samuelwoolley, and check out the Computational Propaganda Project at www.politicalbots.org.

#9: Twitter, ISIS, and Sentiment Analysis: Using Big Data to Measure Public Opinion about Terrorism, with Dr. Luigi Curini

Dr. Luigi Curini, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Milan, discusses how big data from social networks can be used to estimate public opinion about ISIS and terrorism. Dr. Curini shares his research using Twitter data to uncover how the Arabic community discusses the Islamic State on social media. He and his colleagues find that closing down Twitter accounts of ISIS supporters may lead to them becoming foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, and that Islam is a major factor in generating both positive and negative sentiment about ISIS. We also discuss Dr. Curini’s upcoming book, Politics and Big Data: Nowcasting and Forecasting Elections with Social Media, which looks at how social media data can be used by researchers to more accurately predict election outcomes than traditional polling methods.

#8: 2016 Year in Review: Bots, Fake News, and Campaigning on Snapchat, with Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten

Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten, Assistant Professor of European Studies at Lund University, and host Michael Bossetta discuss some of the hottest topics and controversies surrounding social media and politics from 2016. This year in review, Christmas episode tackles some of the key challenges facing policy makers and contemporary societies, from the explosion of political bots on Twitter to the spreading of fake news on Facebook. The two discuss how Snapchat was used as a digital marketing tool during the 2016 United States Presidential election, as well as what Donald Trump’s Twitter use might mean for future diplomacy. Other topics include the impact of live video streaming on social media for protest movements like Black Lives Matter and whether new social media platforms can compete alongside traditional giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can follow Dr. Segesten on Twitter @anamariadutceac.

#2: Twitter and Political Debates: What Dual Screening means for Democracy and Political Participation, with Dr. Cristian Vaccari

Dr. Cristian Vaccari, one of the world’s leading social media and political communication researchers, shares his insights about what “dual screening” during political events means for democracy and political participation. We discuss exactly what dual screening is, as well as Dr. Vaccari’s recent prize-winning research finding that citizens who use Twitter during political debates are more likely to participate in politics during (and after) elections. Other topics covered in this episode are the role of social media in affecting citizens’ exposure to news, why researchers are overly focused on Twitter, and what implications social media has for democracy in the digital age.