Social media has been in the news recently because the current president of the United States, Donald Trump, was blocked from a succession of them. One side of the argument says that censoring hate speech and speech that incites violence is an important element of freedom of expression (true) and the other suggests that when social media platforms form a monopoly, then censoring speech becomes problematic (also true).
Both cases have merit although Trump could start up a blog on a website of his own and write whatever he wanted. Would that be censored? He has a handful more days of office and could give a press conference every day — would that be reported? I imagine he would be. If he wasn’t then that would be problematic censorship.
However, it is local politics that I’m more interested in and how social media is used at this level. But I can’t just dismiss how it is used elsewhere so I’ve been looking at further literature on the subject.
Manuel Castell has updated his 2012 book Networks of Outrage and Hope looking at networked social movements;
There’s an excellent article I was sent about framed effects and the ‘protest paradigm’ when I mentioned the XR protest coverage in the Bristol Post. It makes the point about the watchdog and guard dog media.
Framing effects of Television News Coverage of Social Protest (2009) Douglas M. McLeod & Benjamin H. Detenber
Abstract: We investigated framing effects of television news coverage of an anarchist protest. Three treatment stories differed in their level of status quo support. Status quo support had significant effects on viewers, leading them to be more critical of, and less likely to identify with, the protesters; less critical of the police; and less likely to support the protesters’ expressive rights. Status quo support also produced lower estimates of the protest’s effectiveness, public support, and perceptions of newsworthiness. The results substantiate concerns about status quo support by showing that it can influence audience perceptions.
I found an excellent-sounding article on The Combined Effects of Mass Media and Social Media on Political Perceptions and Preferences.
AIC [abstract, introduction, conclusion]
Changes in political perceptions and preferences may result from the combined effects of news from various media. Estimating these combined effects requires the best possible, albeit different, measures of news obtained from self-selected mass media and social media that can be linked to panel survey data concerning perceptions and preferences. For the 2017 Dutch national elections, such data is available. Political perceptions and preferences are affected by news statements in self-selected mass media on issue positions, support and criticism, real world conditions and success and failure, in accordance with the theories on agenda setting and issue ownership, social identity, retrospective voting and bandwagon effects, respectively. Combined effects emerge because many people use both mass media and social media. The latter do more than just reinforce predispositions. Social media also have a mere exposure effect, and a multistep flow effect that amplifies news about party successes and failures from self-selected mass media.
Keywords: election campaigns, mass media, social media, partisan selective exposure, news effects
Contemporary election campaigns are hard to imagine without voters being exposed to news from mass media such as radio and TV, and newer media such as Facebook and Twitter. The current study goes beyond the previous literature by directly addressing the research question: how are the perceptions and preferences of voters affected by self-selected news content from social media and mass media? Research into the combined effects of news from social media and classic media is still new for two major reasons.
This study is a plea for communication research into the combined effects of exposure to mass media content and social media content, based on the best possible, although imperfect, measures for each. Combined effects research is required to arrive at nontrivial advice on campaigning–and on the media coverage thereof. Which issues should be emphasized and which positions should be taken? Whom to neglect, support, or attack? How to mobilize endorsements from societal actors and the media? How to provoke the media and political adversaries with sharp criticisms and attacks? And above all, how to coauthor media events that will inspire the media to attribute success rather than failure to the party?
I have followed some researchers on citizen journalism and communication on Twitter. As I was scrolling through, they mentioned the idea of ‘minimal effects’ so I searched it up.
New methodologies for researching news discussion on Twitter [link]
[[with homeschooling taking place, and just generally having the girls home all the time, it’s getting a lot trickier to find 30 minutes at a time for my writing, but I’m trying]