Episodes

#60: Political Polarization, Social Media, and News Use in the United States, with Dr. Galen Stocking

Dr. Galen Stocking, Computational Social Scientist at Pew Research Center, discusses political polarization and how it relates to social media use. We take a deep dive into how Pew Research Center measures polarization empirically, how polarization has changed over time, and how widening partisan gaps relate to citizens’ traditional and social media habits. Dr. Stocking also discusses the role of computational methods in survey research, using one of his recent studies on media sources shared on Twitter during immigration debates as a case. We also talk about Reddit, which has a relatively low user base in the United States compared to other social media platforms. Yet, Dr. Stocking’s research has uncovered that Reddit users are highly active in consuming news on the site.

Pew Research Center sources cited in the episode:

Graphic Illustration of Political Polarization 1994-2017

Political Polarization and Media Habits (2014)

Sources Shared on Twitter: A Case Study of Immigration (2018)

News Use across Social Media (2018)

Dr. Stocking’s study on Reddit (2016)

#59: Cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, and Social Media, with Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier, Chief Technology Officer at IBM Resilient, guests to discuss his new book, Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World. We discuss how the Internet of Things (IoT) opens up new possibilities for catastrophes, how social media companies and governments follow a model of surveillance capitalism, and how the Internet can be made more secure moving forward.

#58: Facebook’s Political Ad Archive and Web Scraping to Improve It, with Søren Pedersen

Søren Pedersen, a Danish software developer working for Extra Bladet, joins the podcast to discuss his project uspolads.com. Søren used web scraping technology to build a website that presents data from the Facebook political ad archive ahead of the 2018 US midterm elections. We talk about Søren’s motivations in building uspolads, as well as discuss some his previous work using Facebook and Twitter data to reveal insights about politics and tech addiction.

Click here to check out the official Facebook Ad Archive.

#57: The 2018 Swedish Elections and Social Media, with Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten

Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten, Senior Lecturer in European Studies at Lund University, guests to discuss the 2018 Swedish Elections and social media’s role in it. We break down the election results and talk about what it means for Sweden as well as the European Union.

Here are the links to the studies discussed in the episode:

Moe & Larsson’s 2014 study on Swedish politicians’ Facebook use

Jakob Svensson’s study on Swedish campaigning between elections

Kragh & Åsberg’s study on Russian disinformation via Facebook in Sweden

ComProp’s study of “junk news” during the Swedish election

#56: Facebook Ad Targeting in the 2017 British General Election, with Dr. Nick Anstead

Dr. Nick Anstead, Associate Professor in Media and Communications at the LSE, guests to discuss his new research on British parties’ Facebook ad targeting during the 2017 election. Using a data from the Chrome browser created by Who Targets Me, Dr. Anstead and his team compare the content, tone, personalization, and calls to action used in these ads. We discuss the findings of that study, as well as outline three challenges for academics studying Facebook ad targeting moving forward: the epistemological, the conceptual, and the systematic.

Read the full study here!

#55: Anti-Social Media: Does Facebook Undermine Democracy?, with Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan

Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, joins the podcast to discuss his new book “Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy” (Oxford University Press). We discuss the impact of Facebook, Google, and other tech platforms on politics and society. We also examine the ideologies of Silicon Valley executives, how their technologies are used around the globe, and look ahead to why smart speakers are increasingly becoming the battleground for FANG companies.

#54: P2P Texting Platforms for Political Campaigns, with Thomas Peters

Thomas Peters, CEO of uCampaign and RumbleUp, returns to the podcast to discuss his company’s new peer-to-peer texting platform: RumbleUp. Thomas shares his insights into how P2P texting (SMS and MMS) can be used by political campaigns to increase GOTV initiatives, polling, and fundraising. We talk about the differences between P2P texting and email, as well as some of the recent success RumbleUp has had in promoting Republican candidates. This includes a recent local primary election in Alabama, as well as drumming up support for Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Here’s the link the Medium post on RumbleUp we discuss in the episode.

#53: Computational Social Science and Digital Methods in the Post-API Era, with Dr. Deen Freelon

Dr. Deen Freelon, Assoicate Professor in the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, discusses how researcher collect and analyze social media data to study politics. We talk about Facebook’s recent API shut-down, the new Social Science One initiative, differences between Python and R programming languages, and one of his recent reports analyzing how minority communities engage with news on Twitter.

#52: Paid Media and Political Advertisements for Campaigns, with Anson Kaye

Anson Kaye, Partner at GMMB, discusses how a political advertisement for a campaign is crafted from concept to implementation. Anson has designed paid media for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid, and he shares his insights into how the rise of social media platforms has influenced his work. We also look ahead into how the advertising landscape might look like in the 2018 U.S. Congressional midterm elections.

#51: Email Programs and Digital Campaigning for the Democratic Party, with Matt Compton

Matt Compton, Director of Advocacy and Engagement at Blue State Digital, discusses how email programs are used for political campaigns and advocacy. Matt also shares his experience in working in digital communications for the Obama White House and the Democratic National Committee. We look ahead to the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and discuss trends in how the Democratic Party is using social media to campaign.