Social Media and the U.S. Election: Consuming the Campaign

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slides from November 5, 2012, the third session of the course Social Media and the U.S. Election. The course is taught by Janelle Ward and hosted by the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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  • 1. Social Media andthe U.S. Electionjanelle.ward@gmail.com www.janelleward.com @janelle_ward

2. Links on last weeks discussion Substantive research on Twitter:How Political Magazines Use Twitter to Drive 2012 Election Susan Currie Sivek Check for more content here: PBS MediaShifts SpecialSeries: Election 2012 Also: Exposure or Rhetoric: Fan Politics on Facebook Janet Johnson, Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric Swing State Hell The Twitter Political Index 3. Assignment from last week Consuming the campaign: How are voters using socialmedia to talk about the election? *perceptions of the candidates/campaigns *interaction with other citizens Some ideas: Follow your own Facebook feed & look for election mentions Find an election-related Twitter handle/hashtag and monitor 4. How are voters using social media to talk about the election? 1) Research (lots of research!) 2) How citizens perceive politicians onFacebook (Gabrielle Grow &authenticity) 3) Case study: #Eastwooding 5. 1) Research Does internet use affect engagement? (Boulainne) Three main theories focus on how the internet willaffect civic and political engagement of citizens: some think the internet will have a detrimental effect onengagement (internet = entertainment) others say the internet will have a positive effect onengagement still others argue that the internet could mobilize thosethat are currently politically inactive (particularly youth) 6. 1) Research Boulainne analyzed 38 studies and 166 effects testing therelationship between internet use and civic/politicalengagement (focused on U.S.; studies published between 1998 and 2008) generally found little evidence that internet use contributesto civic decline; findings suggest that effect of internet useon engagement is positive effects more likely to be positive if researchers included online news as a part of internet use (so those that read the news online are more likely to be politically engaged) conversely, civic/political engagement does not have asignificant effect on internet use 7. 1) Research Pew (released October 11, 2012): Thedual screen election About a third (36%) ofAmericans got debatecoverage online or fromsocial networking sites; farmore (78%) say they gotcoverage from traditionalsources, including television,newspapers, or radio. 8. 1) Research 9. 1) Research Pew: The dual screen election Social media platforms (FB, Twitter, YouTube)are growing especially rapidly as a source ofpolitical news. The number of Americans whosay they regularly go to these destinations tolearn about the campaign has doubled sinceJanuary (but still just 17%). 10. 1) Research NPR: In Twitter We Trust - research fromBrian Houston and Jon Krosnick: One tweet at a time: cements bonds betweenpeople, helps with information dissemination A whole bunch at a time: media reportsnumbers and communicates a norm The difficulty of coding for sarcasm / snark high 11. 1) Research Pew Internet & American Life Project:Social Media and Political Engagement a new survey (Oct. 19, 2012) finds that 66% of socialmedia usersor 39% of all American adultshavedone at least one of eight civic or political activitieswith social media. 12. 2) Gabrielle Grows research How citizens perceive politicians onFacebook (authenticity) 13. The Role of Authenticity in Electoral Social Media Campaigns Gabrielle Growgab.grow@gmail.com gabriellegrow.com 14. What can you tell me about this candidates character? 15. Research Findings Respondents found this candidate relatablebecause the photo is not posed, and becausethey see a more human side to him it looks like an actual family photo which is refreshing, I think I cant help but have a more positive image if I see a picture like that. Research Respondent 16. What can you tell me about this candidates character? 17. Research Findings Respondents were skeptical of the candidates motives for posting thisNote, but also mentioned that they felt it was necessary to share thisinformationits like an oxymoron when you askfor a candidates character. Were kindof attuned to being skeptical of acandidates character.Research Respondent 18. Suggestions for authenticity: 19. 3) Case study: #Eastwooding Clint Eastwood speech atthe Republican NationalConvention The Daily Beast; Know your Meme Obamas official Twitteraccount posted a photo ofObama seated in a chair withthe caption This seatstaken. (55,263 retweets and22,589 favorites) 20. 3) Case study: #Eastwooding During the speech@InvisibleObama tweeted for thefirst time, using a picture of anempty chair as its icon. (source) 21. 3) Case study: #Eastwooding In 24 hours, over 90,000 tweets were postedabout Clint Eastwood (source) 22. 3) Case study: #Eastwooding The hashtag #Eastwoodinggenerated 25,325 tweets in 24hours More than 850 Instagramphotos were tagged#Eastwooding By the next day, Eastwoodingphotos were featured on theAtlantic, the Huffingon Post,New York Daily News, Fox News,etc. (source) 23. Producing or consuming the campaign? Gotye parody video link 24. For next week Looking ahead to our final week: How important is/was (social) media campaigning in determining the winner? Can social media predict election outcomes? Stay up all night on election night and take notes!