- Trolls, echo chambers, misogynism, abuse of politicians and d*ick pics are some of the worst elements of social media. But is that all there is to this platform?
- How are social media platforms used? What evidence exists of the number of users and different types of use?
- Who own the media?
- What types of political participation are out there?
- What are the various media effects on political participation?
- How do we measure media effects?
- How do we evaluate political participation?
- Amongst all that, what is the specific effect of social media on political participation, and more particularly on local politics?
To be continued but this is my initial outline.
- Perception of social media as abusive and chaotic. Things go ‘viral’ and then are forgotten about.
- People are increasingly using social media to be activists and discuss local politics;
- Local news has had so many cuts that there are few sources left these days.
- There are local magazines and newspapers and regional TV so how do these news and information sources affect knowledge and political participation for local residents?
Questions addressed in this section: what are the different types of media? what are the media effects of different types of media? what characteristics of people determine certain media effects? how can we measure them?
Info sources: Ohme (2018); Bulhoun (2015); Dahlgren (2013); Brader (2006)
- How media affects people;
- Politically informed citizens are more easily manipulated by emotional appeals than less involved citizens;
- The number of users on social media is growing. Corbyn’s success in terms of numbers is often associated with the rise of Momentum and their mobilisation of the ‘youth’ vote. How is that linked to social media usage?
Local political participation
This sections looks at the following: who are the people likely to participate in local politics and activism? what types of political participation exist?
Info sources: Scheufele (2002); Dahlgren (2013); Inglehart and Norris (2016); Olson (1965; 1971; 2000)
- factors that are related to citizens’ involvement in their local communities, awareness of relevant issues, and attitude strength on issues;
- “political engagement” is needed in a democracy.
- Links to one’s neighbourhood and social ties are a predictor of engagement in local politics.
- In his 1965 book, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, Mancur Olson identified the difficulties groups have in organizing to further their collective interest. Does social media make it easier for groups to organise and therefore solves the collective action problem?
- community members have an individual interest in abstaining from collective action and free riding on others’ contributions, but no benefit is produced if nobody participates. For example, marches, rallies or other awareness-raising activities to change entrenched social norms affect the social environment shared by community members whether they participate or not. This creates a temptation to let other community members invest time and effort.
Questions addressed in this section: the power of social media; how is it used; definitions of the types out there and how many people use it; how often do stories get picked up by the press from social media? what is its role in informing local residents about local issues?
Info sources: Alterman (2011); Dahlgren (2013) Olson (1971)
- The internet has changed the prior one-way media information flow into one of greater two way political engagement. (Dahlgren)
- Does social media solve the collective action problem for ease of communication and coordination? [[is this relevant??]]
- What do people do on the internet in relation to local political activism?
- What effect does this social media usage/action have on participation? on mobilisation?
- Social media is a form of information transfer similar to news and media but it includes much interaction;
- Interaction provides its own reward, to an extent. More followers, more kudos, etc. This could be an incentive to solve the collective action problem. People may invest the time in producing reports and news articles and organising political activism because of the immediate benefit.
- The reach of social media users, however, is not as great as that of newspapers and other local media. So this work examines what is the reach and how many do get informed by social media?
- Certain stories get covered on social media that would not be picked up at all in the mainstream media. How effective is social media at promoting these stories and informing readers and users?
- How effective are companies like Cambridge Analytica at affecting what people think, as compared to say individuals who would not get any space to share their stories without social media?