Episodes

#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.

#7: Social Media and Political Youth Organizations in Denmark, with Emilie Demant

Emilie Demant, social media coordinator for Venstres Ungdom, shares her insights into how a Danish political youth organization is using social media to engage young voters with politics. We discuss how Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter are each used differently to communicate politics with young Danes, as well as what types of user-generated content Emilie receives when managing these social media accounts. Emilie highlights the visual element of social media by stressing that memes, GIFs, and videos drive the most engagement on social media, and here digital marketing and graphic design play a key role. We also discuss the differences between a youth political organization and the parent political party, Venstre, and what that means for their social media use. Although exhibiting different rules of political communication on social media (especially on Snapchat), interestingly, both Venstre and Venstres Ungdom work together to strategically share content across their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter social networks.

#6: Digital Marketing on Social Media for Political Campaigns, with Chasen Campbell

Chasen Campbell, VP of Client Strategy at Harris Media, shares his knowledge about how major US politicians use social media for digital campaigning. We discuss how political campaigns use big data to micro-target voters on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as what it’s like to run a digital marketing campaign for politicians with big budgets. Chasen also weighs in on how new social media platforms, like Snapchat and Periscope, stack up to giants like Facebook and Google. We also discuss what works and what doesn’t in driving engagement online, and Chasen emphasizes that short, easy to understand, and entertaining messages are key to capturing voters’ attention.

Find out more about Chasen and Harris Media at www.harrismediallc.com

#5: Hillary for Prison and Instagram: Grassroots Campaigning through Memes, with Emily Longworth

Emily Longworth, spokesperson for the Hillary for Prison movement, shares how the grassroots organization is using Instagram to promote its message during the 2016 US presidential elections. We discuss what type of conversations take place on their Instagram account’s comment fields, the role of hashtags to the account’s success, and bringing a bit of humor into politics.

#4: E-Voting and Elections: How does it work in Estonia?, with Jason Kitcat

Jason Kitcat, an e-voting expert and avid digital rights campaigner, shares his experience as an official election observer during Estonia’s 2013 municipal elections. Estonia is the first country in the word to introduce e-voting nationwide, and Jason points out some of the pitfalls he and his team observed during their election observation. We discuss whether e-voting is a viable alternative to traditional voting, and whether large social media providers like Facebook can (or cannot) help make e-voting safer.

#3: Öresundsrevolutionen and Facebook: Protesting Sweden’s Border Controls on Social Media, with Niels Paarup-Petersen

In late 2015, the Swedish government imposed border controls to stem the influx of migrants to Sweden from the refugee crisis. A small group of regional politicians in Southern Sweden set up a Facebook page, Öresundsrevolutionen, to protest the border controls. In this episode Niels Paarup-Petersen, a regional politician from the Center Party, shares his insight into how and why the movement to protest the border controls is taking place on Facebook. We discuss Öresundsrevolutionen’s communication strategy on Facebook, the role social media plays in advocating its message, and how the movement is using Facebook to place pressure on the Swedish government to repeal the border controls.

#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.

#1: The European Parliament on Snapchat: Engaging EU Youth in Politics through Social Media, with Karolina Wozniak

Karolina Wozniak, Social Media Coordinator for the European Parliament, shares how and why the European Parliament is using Snapchat to engage youth in EU politics. Listen in as we discuss where Snapchat fits into the Parliament’s overall social media strategy, the levels and types of citizen engagement, geofilters, and the costs of running a Snapchat account for a government institution (you’ll be surprised!).