Episodes

#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.

#50: Platforms and News Publishers: Digital Journalism in the Facebook-Google Duopoly, with Rameez Tase

Rameez Tase, Vice President of Audience Development and Insights at Axios, discusses news publishing in a digital environment dominated by Facebook and Google. Rameez outlines the challenges and opportunities of being a digitally native news outlet, how Axios crafts content to fit contemporary news consumption patterns, and how the organization uses native advertising to sustain a business model in a crowded media environment.

#49: Advocacy for the Tech Industry, with Matt Schruers

Matt Schruers, Vice President of Law and Policy at the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), discusses the work that CCIA does as a link between the tech industry and legislators. The CCIA represents the interests of large tech firms such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Netflix. We chat about the tech industry’s position on GDPR, ePrivacy, and other regulations; the role of competition in tech; and how regulation might affect the Internet of Things.

#48: Cyberattacks on Social Media: Spear Phishing, Trolling, and Disinformation, with Dr. Arun Vishwanath

Dr. Arun Vishwanath, Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Buffalo, shares his expertise on how social media are used to conduct cyberattacks. We discuss the three key tactics that state-sponsored actors use to undermine trust in American democracy: spear phishing, trolling, and disinformation. We delve into Dr. Vishwanath’s research exploring what factors predict users’ likelihood to accept a false friend request on Facebook, what implications these types of attacks have for national security, as well discuss what governments are trying to do to stop these attacks.

#47: GDPR and Political Campaigning, with Brendan Tobin

Brendan Tobin, Head of Growth at Ecanvasser, discusses how the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect political campaigning in the European Union. We talk about what GDPR is, how it will be enforced by legislators, and what the implications of this new regulation are for democracy. Given the multi-level governance structure of the EU, it will take some time to see how GDPR will influence how campaigns engage with companies like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube. Subscribe to the Social Media and Politics Podcast to keep up to date with all the latest developments in the social media space!

#46: Mobilizing the Pack for Political Campaigns and Advocacy, with Tom Lillywhite

Tom Lillywhite, founder of Wilder Digital and the digital campaigning tool ‘Pack‘, joins the podcast to discuss how political campaigns and organizations can mobilize supporters to increase organic reach on social media. We discuss how crowdsourcing ardent supporters can increase organic reach on Facebook and Twitter, as well as how Pack is currently being used for advocacy groups and the Camden Labour Party.