Sveriges 100 mest populära podcasts

Social Media and Politics

Social Media and Politics

Social Media and Politics is a podcast bringing you innovative, first-hand insights into how social media is changing the political game. Subscribe for interviews and analysis with politicians, academics, and leading digital strategists to get their take on how social media influences the ways we engage with politics and democracy. Social Media and Politics is hosted by Michael Bossetta, political scientist at Lund University. Check out the podcast's official website:


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Digital Media Trends in American Political Campaigns, with Russell Mindich

Russell Mindich, political consultant and author of the 2022 Political Tech Landscape Report, shares his insights on the role of social media in political campaigning. We discuss social media influencers and how campaigns are connecting to them on TikTok, the move towards politicla advertising on streaming services, and the potential uses of ChatGPT and other generative AI for politics.

 Here's a link to the Analyst Institute, mentioned in the episode. 

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Social Media, Democracy, and National Security, with Jenny Reich

Jenny Reich, Fellow at the Georgetown Law Center on National Security, discusses the Center's recent report entitled Social Media: The Canary in the Coal Mine. We dive into the potential security risks posed by digital technology developments as well as the report's recommendations for addressing them at the levels of government, the tech industry, and civil society. The report brings together various stakeholders to shed insight on the core democratic values of the United States, the major threats posed by technological advancements, and first steps toward developing regulatory frameworks and civil society resilience to meet these threats in ways that safeguard democracy and American national security interests. 

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Progressive Big Tech Regulation and Advocacy, with Adam Kovacevich

Adam Kovacevich, Founder and CEO of Chamber of Progress, shares his trade association's goals for progressive advocacy in the tech sector. We discuss the politicization of 'Big Tech' and  recent opinion polls about Midterm voters' attitudes towards tech regulation. We also discuss how First Amendment rights apply to tech companies, misperceptions of the techlash, and partisan differences in moderating misinformation and free speech. 

Extra Links:

President Biden's op-ed in WSJ

Adam's presentation on Chamber of Progress' Midterm Poll

Episode #49 on CCIA and Tech Trade Associations

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Political Targeting, Strategic Communication, and Democracy, with Prof. Sanne Kruikemeier

Prof. Sanne Kruikemeier, Professor of Digital Media and Society at Wageningen University & Research, discusses her latest research on political targeting. We discuss how political targeting differs in EU and US contexts, how perceptions of targeting affect voters' democratic perceptions, and what types of issues parties strategically communicate during election campaigns. 

Here are the studies discussed in the episode: 

Data-driven campaigning and democratic disruption: Evidence from six advanced democracies (2022)

Understanding the democratic role of perceived online political micro-targeting (2022)

(Tar)getting you: The use of online political targeted messages on Facebook (2022)

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Digital Political Advertising Beyond Social Media, with Megan Clasen

Megan Clasen, Partner at Gambit Strategies, shares her insights into digital political advertising for persuasion and mobilization. We discuss the role of social media ads relative to CTV and OTT advertising, as well as how political ads compete with corporate brands for inventory on these services. Megan also shares her experiences with Facebook's ad 'blackout' period during the 2020 campaign and how the Biden campaign responded to countering Trump's advertisements. ...And much more! 

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2022 Year in Review! Social Media and Politics, with Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten

The 7th Annual Social Media and Politics Podcast Year in Review! A Mega Episode with lots of knowledge bombs - you'll simply have to listen to hear them all!

Here is a gift of all the platform year in review reports: 

Facebook: Protecting People from Online Threats in 2022

Instagram: 2023 Instagram Trend Report

Google: Year in Search

TikTok: 1)  Year on TikTok: 2022, truly #ForYou
TikTok: 2) What's Next 2023 Trend Report

Pinterest: Pinterest Predicts 2022

Reddit: Reddit Recap 2022

Snapchat: Year End 2022

Pornhub: 2022 Year in Review

And the two clips played in the episode: 

SNL BeReal Skit

Zelensky Deepfake

See you in January for new episodes! 

Share your thoughts or questions @SMandPPodcast

Keep downloading,  listening, and learning!

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Social Media, Citizen Journalism, and Activism in Africa, with Prof. Bruce Mutsvairo

Prof. Bruce Mutsvairo, Professor of Media and Politics at Utrecht University, shares his insights on the role of social media and politics on the African continent. We discuss digital activism across countries, how structures like data bundles might lead to surveillance, and the growing role of influencers as reporters of news. 

The Special Issue call for citizen journalists is here.

Here are the studies we discuss in the episode:

The Janus face of social media and democracy? Reflections on Africa (2020)

Is citizen journalism dead? An examination of recent developments in the field (2020)

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Data-driven Campaigning with Polling and Focus Groups in American Elections, with Zac McCrary

Zac McCrary, Partner at Impact Research and host of the Pro Politics podcast, shares his insights on how American campaigns leverage polling and focus groups to craft a winning message. We discuss the upcoming 2022 US midterm elections, the (still) dominant role of television in political advertising, how social media fits into the picture, and how smart phones have changed polling into a multimodal endeavor. 

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Cross-Platform Visual Campaigning on Social Media: Emotions in Political Candidates' Facebook and Instagram Images

In this episode, it's just me! I present a recently published study, co-authored with Rasmus Schmøkel and published in Political Communication, that analyzes US Presidential campaigns' emotion expression across Facebook and Instagram. 

I'll explain the theoretical backdrop of the study, give an overview of the state-of-the-art on visual political communication, and communicate the study's methods and key results. Hope you enjoy this one-on-one episode! 

Here's a link to the study (feel free to share around): 

Cross-Platform Emotions in Social Media Political Campaigning: Comparing Candidates' Facebook and Instagram Images in the 2020 US Election (2022)


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Data Journalism to Report Social Media and Politics, with Aleszu Bajak

Aleszu Bajak, Senior Data Reporter at USA Today, discusses his reporting on social media and politics using computational methods. We talk about the types of data that data journalists are working with, how they acquire it (e.g., Freedom of Information Requests), and how they approach reporting results in a way that tells an engaging story. We also dive into some of Aleszu's recent reporting, such as Parler reactions to Donald Trump's speech on January 6th, inequalities in Covid vaccinations, and the polarization of Congressional political rhetoric on social media over time. 

Here are some links to the stories we discuss in the episode: 

'Hope' is out, 'Fight' is in: Does Tweeting Divide Congress, or Simply Echo its Divisions? 

When Trump Started his Speech before the Capital Riot, Talk on Parler turned to Civil War

How Critical Race Theory went from Conservative Battle Cry to Mainstream Powder Keg

And here's Aleszu's talk on tracking politics with data journalism - highly recommend! 

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Swedish Elections 2022, Political Communication, and Social Media, with Dr. Nils Gustafsson

Dr. Nils Gustafsson, Senior Lecturer of Strategic Communication at Lund University, discusses the run-up to the 2022 Swedish Elections and then findings from his research. First, we chat about the main political issues that Swedes are voting on, as well as how political parties and party leaders are digital campaigning on social media. Then, Dr. Gustafsson shares findings from three of his research projects. We discuss how Facebook was viewed as a tool for participation when it first became widely adopted in Sweden, how rejection sensitivity might affect political expression online, and how media narratives about polarization in Swedish media have changed over time. 

Here are links to the two published studies we discuss in the episode: 

The Subtle Nature of Facebook Politics: Swedish Social Network Site Users and Political Participation (2012)

A Social Safety Net? Rejection Sensitivity and Political Opinion Sharing among Young People in Social Media (2018)

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Social Media, Information Markets, and the Attention Economy, with Prof. Vincent Hendricks

Prof. Vincent Hendricks, Professor of Formal Philosophy at the University of Copenhagen, discusses his new book The Ministry of Truth: Big Tech's Influence over Facts, Feelings, and Fictions.

Prof. Hendricks shares how social media are like investment banks in the attention economy, how information is packaged and sold, and what Big Tech's growing influence on critical infrastructure means for politics and society. 

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Machine Learning the Facebook URLs Dataset to Study News Credibility, with Dr. Tom Paskhalis

Dr. Tom Paskhalis, Assistant Professor in Political and Data Science at Trinity College Dublin, shares his research on applying machine learning to the Facebook URLs Dataset from Social Science One. The project develops a model to label whether a news domain is credible or not based on Facebook interactions data. We discuss the Facebook URLs dataset, what types of machine learning techniques were applied to it, and how the model performed across the US and EU countries. 

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Anti-Immigration YouTube Videos: Tactics and Narratives, with Shauna Siggelkow

Shauna Siggelkow, Director of Digital Storytelling at Define American, discusses a new report on anti-immigration YouTube videos: 'Immigration will Destroy Us and Other Talking Points.'

We break down the report, which identifies a network of viral YouTube videos promoting narratives associated with the Great Replacement Theory. Shauna also shares findings from experiments that test how different genres, animation styles, and messengers can effectively communicate political issues. 

Check out the toolkit for communicating pro-immigration messages (and other types of political content) on digital and social media.

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Social Media Influencers and Politics, Environmental Behavior, and Covid Misinformation, with Dr. Desirée Schmuck

Dr. Desirée Schmuck, Assistant Professor at the Department of Mass Communication at KU Leuven, shares her research on social media influencers and their effects on users' political attitudes and behavior. We break down three of Dr. Schmuck's studies. The first focuses on how exposure to political influencer content affects young social media users' behavior, both in terms of formal electoral participation and environmental sustainability. The second examines how influencers might affect users' perceived simplification of politics, and how that perception influences users' political cynicism and interest. The third study is an experiment that seeks to understand how misinformation from lifestyle influencers could affect female social media users' attitudes toward covid and trust in public health information. 

Here are links to the studies we discuss in the episode: 

The Mobilizing Power of Influencers for Pro-Environmental Behavior Intentions and Political Participation (2022)

Politics?Simply Explained? How Influencers Affect Youth?s Perceived Simplification of Politics, Political Cynicism, and Political Interest (2022)

Responses to Social Media Influencers? Misinformation about COVID-19: A Pre-Registered Multiple-Exposure Experiment (2022)

And if you're interested in political influencers, check out our episode on political influencers in the Biden 2020 campaign.

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Political Tech Incubators in American Digital Campaigning, with Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson, Managing Partner at Startup Caucus and Host of The Business of Politics Show, discusses political tech incubators and their emerging role in US digital campaigning. We chat about how the Republican and Democratic Party need different tech solutions for different campaigning styles, the need for start-up campaigning firms, and the potential impact of Web3 on future political campaigns. 

Here's the link to Eric's blog post on Web3. 

Subscribe to The Business of Politics Show

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Technology Disruption, Democracy, and Principled Platform Regulation, with Prof. Lance Bennett

Prof. Lance Bennett, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Communication at the University of Washington, discusses the types of principled values that should guide platform regulation. We reflect on the disruptive ethos of tech companies and what that means for democracy. We also discuss theories of capitalism, recent changes in data privacy and third-party tracking, as well as the connection between digital technologies and protest parties. 

The article we discuss in the episode is Killing the Golden Goose: A Framework for Regulating Disruptive Technologies. 

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Challenging Covid Vaccine Misinformation on Private Social Media, with Prof. Andrew Chadwick

Prof. Andrew Chadwick, Professor of Communication at Loughborough University, shares insights from his new public research report: Covid Vaccines and Online Personal Messaging: The Challenge of Challenging Everyday Misinformation. The report explores how British citizens use private social messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and in particular how they experience and engage with coronavirus misinformation across private group chats on these platforms. We discuss the hybrid character of this engagement, the role of qualitative research in project designs, and person-centered solutions to countering misinformation on private social media.

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Comparing Digital Political Communication across Countries and Time, with Prof. Anders Olof Larsson

Prof. Anders Olof Larsson, Professor of Communication at Kristiania University College, shares his comparative social media research on party communication. We start out with a macro-level look at political parties' adoption of Facebook and Instagram across Europe, before focusing more specifically on Scandinavia. Prof. Larsson discusses the pros and cons of political merch contests in driving engagement, and how hashtag network structures have evolved over time on Facebook and Instagram in Norway. We also discuss post virality and Prof. Larsson's work comparing viral posts in Norway across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. 

Here are the studies mentioned in the episode: 

Longitudinal studies of European party communication: 

Picture-perfect populism: Tracing the rise of European populist parties on Facebook (2022)

The rise of Instagram as a tool for political communication: A longitudinal study of European political parties and their followers (2021)

Studies using Norwegian data:

?Win a sweater with the PM?S face on it? ? A longitudinal study of Norwegian party Facebook engagement strategies (2020)

?Coherent clusters? or ?fuzzy zones? ? Understanding attention and structure in online political participation (2019)

Winning and losing on social media: Comparing viral political posts across platforms (2019)

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Rating News Credibility with Algorithms, with Arjun Moorthy

Arjun Moorthy, co-founder and CEO of The Factual, discusses how machine learning and natural language processing can rank news for credibility. Arjun breaks down the criteria underpinning The Factual's rating system as well as how it tries to minimize bias. We talk about some of the pitfalls of optimizing news for engagement, as well as how anonymity in a different incentive structure affects discourse around discussing news. Towards the end of the episode, we discuss the current state of AI in the newsroom, and how automation might affect news consumption in the future. 

Check out the Unbiased Podcast!

And test out The Factual's engine at

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Social Media and the War in Ukraine, with Prof. Joshua Tucker

Prof. Joshua Tucker, Professor of Politics at NYU and Co-Director of the Center for Social Media and Politics, discusses social media's impact on the invasion of Ukraine. We talk about 'information theaters' of operation and how they differ across the West, Ukraine, Russia, and China. Prof. Tucker also shares his thoughts on Volodymyr Zelensky's teleconferencing, the Biden administration's pre-bunking strategy towards disinformation, multinational corporations' actions towards sanctions, and Vladimir Putin's isolation. And more! 

Here are links to prior episodes on Ukraine:

Volodymyr Zelensky's Social Media Strategy in the 2019 Ukraine Elections

Russian Disinformation and Social Media in Ukraine

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Political Leader Evaluations on Instagram and Emotions in Covid Crisis Communication, with Dr. Jenny Lindholm

Dr. Jenny Lindholm, University Teacher and Researcher in Political Science, Media, and Communication at Åbo Akademi University, discusses her research on visual political communication. First, we break down Dr. Lindholm's eye-tracking experiment on how party leaders' Instagram photos affect viewers' trait perceptions of leaders. The focus is on where viewers of these images give their visual attention, and whether that differs across public versus private photos as well as the gender of party leaders. Then, we discuss another study focusing on the emotion communication of the Finnish Prime Minister during coronavirus crisis communication in press conferences. 

Here are the two studies we discuss in the episode:

See Me, Like Me! Exploring Viewers? Visual Attention to and Trait Perceptions of Party Leaders on Instagram (2021)

Emotionell räddning? Visuell kriskommunikation under coronakrisens inledande skede ? fallet Finland (2021)

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Mobile News Consumption: How Smartphone News Exposure Affects Political Knowledge, with Dr. Jakob Ohme

Dr. Jakob Ohme, Senior Researcher at the Weizenbaum Institute, discusses his research on mobile news consumption. Dr. Ohme breaks down how exposure to political news on a smartphone might differ from a desktop, and he breaks down results from a recent eye-tracking study exploring the topic. We also discuss how smartphones can be used for data collection, through Dr. Ohme's research using a smartphone media diary as well as data from the iOS Screen Time function. 

The studies discussed in the episode are: 

Mobile News Learning: Investigating Political Knowledge Gains in a Social Media Newsfeed with Mobile Eye Tracking (2021)

Mobile Data Donations: Assessing Self-report Accuracy and Sample Biases with the iOS Screen Time Function (2020)

Mobile but Not Mobilized? Differential Gains from Mobile News Consumption for Citizens? Political Knowledge and Campaign Participation (2020)

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2021 Year in Review! Social Media and Politics, with Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten

Here we go! A deep dive into the year's latest trends in social media and politics, as well as predictions for the future. We cover various platforms' year in review recaps, Telegram and Belarus, Facebook's change to Meta and the Silicon Valley "Founder", artificial intelligence and the virtual politician, Web 3 and Parler, and the enduring role of newsletters. 

Here's the platform year in review stats and bonus links for the episode: 

Facebook Threat Report

Google Year in Search

Tiktok Cultural Phenomenons

Pinterest Predicts

Reddit Recap

Snap Lens on the Year

Twitter #OnlyOnTwitter

Article with chart on social media's impact on democracy

The greatest newsletter of all-time 

See you in January for new episodes!

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Right-Wing Alternative Media and Republican Party Social Media Engagement, with Dr. Curd Knüpfer and Mike Cowburn

Dr. Curd Knüpfer (Assistant Professor) and Mike Cowburn (PhD Candidate), from the JFK Institute for North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, discuss their research on right-wing alternative media. We start out by discussing what right-wing alternative media are, and how they are transnationally linked across Western democracies. Then, we explore Mike and Curd's ongoing work into how Members of Congress' social media engagement with these sites may be predictors of political positionality. We also look at how Republican Members of Congress' use of the fake news label also relates to their political ideology. 

The (published) studies discussed in the episode are: 

Beyond Breitbart: Comparing Right-Wing Digital News Infrastructures in Six Western Democracies

Toward a Transnational Information Ecology on the Right? Hyperlink Networking among Right-Wing Digital News Sites in Europe and the United States

Legislator Adoption of the Fake News Label: Ideological Differences in Republican Representative Use on Twitter

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Digital Political Communication and Social Media Campaigning in Germany, with Juri Schnöller

Juri Schnöller, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Cosmonauts & Kings, discusses the latest trends in German digital political communication. We chat about the role of digital political consultants in Germany, the important role of messenger apps like Signal and Telegram, and how social media influencers are impacting coronavirus communication. We also compare how features of the German electoral rules, political culture, and media system work to shape German digital campaigning. 

Extra links: 

Public Arena Playbook: Juri's Handbook for Digital Political Communication

Civical: A Social Media Management Software for Politics


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ISIS Radicalization, Counter-Extremism, and Visual Propaganda on Social Media, with Dr. Tamar Mitts

Dr. Tamar Mitts, Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, shares her research on ISIS radicalization and it's relationship to social isolation, anti-Muslim sentiment, and counter-extremism programs. We discuss Dr. Mitts' Twitter dataset that uses spatial algorithms to identify ISIS sympathizers' locations and machine learning to identify pro-ISIS sentiment. Toward the end of the episode, we discuss how computer vision tools such as Amazon's Rekognition API can be used to detect violent imagery in ISIS propaganda. 

Here are the studies we discuss in the episode: 

From Isolation to Radicalization: Anti-Muslim Hostility and Support for ISIS in the West  (2019)

Countering Violent Extremism and Radical Rhetoric (2021)

Studying the Impact of ISIS Propaganda Campaigns (Forthcoming)

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Covid Mask Wearing in Politicians' Social Media Images and Emotions in German Politics, with Dr. Mirya Holman

Dr. Mirya Holman, Associate Professor of Political Science at Tulane University, shares her latest research on how politicians depict mask wearing through their social media images. We discuss how computer vision can be used to detect masks in images, as well as what factors correlate with politicians' depicting masks. Later in the episode, we discuss another recent study by Dr. Holman, where emotions in the facial expressions and vocal pitch of German politicians were analyzed during election debates. 

Here's a link to that study: 

Gender, Candidate Emotional Expression, and Voter Reactions during Televised Debates (2021)

And here's a link to Mirya Holman's Aggressive Winning Scholars (#MHAWS) Newsletter! 

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Social Media and Political Polarization in the United States, with Prof. Chris Bail

Professor Chris Bail, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Duke University, discusses his latest book Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make Our Platforms Less Polarizing. Professor Bail shares findings from three studies on political polarization covering field-experiments, qualitative interviews, and lab experiments. We discuss how social media contributes to a distorted reality in how extremists and moderates discuss politics online, and how this prism fosters a sense false polarization. We also chat about measures that individuals and social media platforms could take to reduce online political polarization. 

Here are supplementary links to two studies discussed in the episode: 

Exposure to Opposing Views on Social Media can Increase Political Polarization (2019)

Political Sectarianism in America (2020)

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Digital Ads for Registering and Mobilizing Black and Hispanic Voters, with Tatenda Musapatike

Tatenda Musapatike, Founder and CEO of the Voter Formation Project, shares her insights on using social media to mobilize non-white voters. In her prior role at Acronym, Tatenda led the Expand the Electorate project, which used digital ads to register and mobilize Black and Latinx voters in 8 target states. In this episode, we discuss the results of Tatenda's work in the 2020 US election, the racial biases in data and targeting technologies, and how gender differences between Black voters might be overcome in future electoral cycles. 

Here's the case study from the Expand the Electorate project and more detailed white paper (requires email sign-up) - definitely worth a read! 

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Tech Advocacy for Children's Digital Rights and the Twisted Toys Campaign, with Baroness Beeban Kidron

Baroness Beeban Kidron, Chair of the 5Rights Foundation, guests to discuss the recently launched Twisted Toys campaign. We chat about the role of awareness campaigns for tech advocacy, how policymakers respond to children's data protection issues, and the creative design process behind the Twisted Toys campaign.

Check out Twisted Toys here!

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Political Marketing, Digital Strategy, and Social Media for the Andrew Yang 2020 Campaign, with Andrew Frawley

Andrew Frawley, former Director of Marketing at Yang2020, shares his experience running marketing and digital strategy for Andrew Yang's 2020 campaign. Andrew discusses the role of social media for outsider campaigns, challenges in establishing growth on social media, and the role of podcasts for political campaigns. We also discuss campaign slogans, differences between outsider and mainstream campaigns, and Facebook groups as organizing hubs. 

Check out Andrew's website for more experiences from the campaign! 

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Modern Political Campaigns and Social Media in the United States, with Dr. Michael D. Cohen

Dr. Michael D. Cohen, CEO of Cohen Research Group and Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, discusses his new book Modern Political Campaigns: How Professionalism, Technology, and Speed Have Revolutionized Elections. 

We talk about how communication technologies have shifted political campaigns from being party-centered to candidate-centered. We also discuss various aspects of political campaigns covered in the book, such as: how political campaigns conduct opposition research, the role of data and analytics in the modern campaign, and the value social media can provide to a political campaign.  

Buy Modern Political Campaigns here and use code RLFANDF30 for 30% off! 

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Social Media Communication in the EU, with Tom Moylan

Tom Moylan, Communication Strategist at the Directorate-General for Communication at the European Commission, shares his personal reflections on EU digital communication. We discuss the value that social media can bring in communicating the European Union to citizens, as well as how EU institutions have evolved their communication strategy over time. Tom also shares his experiences as a speechwriter in EU trade policy, and how speech writing compares with social media communication. We also discuss current trends in EU institutional communication, and what lessons might be learned from coronavirus pandemic moving forward. 

Be sure to subscribe to Tom's newsletter: Speaking Moylanguage

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The Cultural Sociology of Political Performance, Icons, and Social Media, with Prof. Jeffrey Alexander

Jeffrey Alexander, Professor of Sociology at Yale University, discusses his cultural sociology approach to political performance and cultural icons. We start out with the concept of fusion, and how political actors work to achieve it through the elements of political performance. Then, we turn to a discussion of objects, affordances, and the power of political icons. 

Here's some extra reading on the topics we cover in the episode: 

Cultural Pragmatics: Social Performance Between Ritual and Strategy (2004)

The Performativity of Objects (2020)

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Digital Media Infrastructures and Tech Platforms, with Dr. Jean-Christophe Plantin

Dr. Jean-Christophe Plantin, Associate Professor in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics, explains the concept of media infrastructures. 

We discuss Dr. Plantin's research on digital platforms, infrastructures, and how tech giants like Facebook and Google increasingly blend those two concepts. We also discuss the infrastructure of WeChat, and get into Dr. Plantin's ongoing work into the concept of programmable infrastructures - which explores how the hardware of the tech industry is becoming increasingly disagreggated and modular. 

Check out Dr. Plantin's recent talk at Sciences Po for more details on programmable infrastructures. 

And the articles we discuss in the episode: 

Digital Media Infrastructures: Pipes, Platforms, and Politics (2018)

Infrastructure Studies Meet Platform Studies in the Age of Google and Facebook (2018)

WeChat as Infrastructure: The Techno-Nationalist Shaping of Chinese Digital Platforms (2019)


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Deliberation in Practice and Pandemics, with Ieva ?esnulaityt?

Ieva ?esnulaityt?, Policy Analyst at the OECD, discusses her and her colleagues? research on representative deliberative processes. We break down some of the key models of deliberative processes, when they tend to be used, and how their success can be measured. 

We also discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has moved deliberative processes online. As social distancing limits the ability for citizens to attend in-person events, how are deliberative processes being carried out? 

Here's the report we discuss in the episode - Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions: Catching the Deliberative Wave

And the op-ed in Nature discussing online deliberation during the pandemic. 

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Social Media Influencers and Political Campaigns, with Madeline V. Twomey

Madeline V. Twomey, President at Rufus and Mane, discusses how social media influencers can benefit political campaigns (and vice versa). Madeline forged digital influencer partnerships for Joe Biden's presidential campaign and inauguration. She shares her experiences working with influencer programs and her thoughts on best practices moving forward.

We talk about the value that influencers can provide to campaigns, how their working relationship looks like in practice, and how storytelling can help non-political influencers break into politics

Here's Madeline's Medium post discussing her 10 lessons from the Biden campaign. 

Check out the latest newsletter, if you're curious about what's coming next on the pod!

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Information Theory, Algorithms, and Political Polarization, with Prof. Martin Hilbert

Martin Hilbert, Professor of Communication at UC-Davis, discusses his research on algorithms and polarization. Prof. Hilbert introduces information theory and how it can be applied to studying the transfer of emotions via algorithms. We break down some of Prof. Hilbert's recent studies, as well as his current thinking around detaching from social algorithms.

The studies discussed in the episode:

Behavioral Experiments With Social Algorithms: An Information Theoretic Approach to Input-Output Conversions

Do Search Algorithms Endanger Democracy? An Experimental Investigation of Algorithm Effects on Political Polarization

Communicating with Algorithms: A Transfer Entropy Analysis of Emotions-based Escapes from Online Echo Chambers

Prof. Hilbert's seven part Medium series on Social Media Distancing

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Digital Ads for Political Mobilization and Persuasion, with Nick Ahamed

Nick Ahamed, Director of Analytics at Priorities USA, shares his research on the effectiveness of digital ads for increasing voter turnout and support for Democrats. We discuss the field and survey experiments that Priorities USA has been running to find the optimal messaging strategies, targeting approaches, and treatment lengths for political social media ads during elections. 

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2020 Year in Review! Social Media and Politics, with Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten

Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten joins for the 5th Annual Social Media and Politics Year in Review! 

We answer listener questions and present six gifts, each representing big events that shaped social media and politics this year. 

25:18 - Platform Year in Review Reports
53:08 - Platforms and Activism (Belarus and Thailand)
1:16:26 - Political Ad Effectiveness
1:38:00 - Platform Regulation (Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act)
2:02:31 - Tweets from the Dead
2:17:00 - Platform Fragmentation

Here's a list of each platform's year in review reports: 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Reddit, Reddit UK, Reddit Moderators, Pornhub Debate Night

Other supplementary material:

Acronym's 'Haha Ratio'

Priorities USA's "Wreck" Ad

Digital Services Act

Margarethe Vestager on the Digital Services Act

Study Modelling Dead Social Media Accounts

Tufts Research on Youth and Political Engagement

Pew Research on Social Media and Persuasion


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Audience Development, Online Political Journalism, and Social Media, with Sofia Diogo Mateus

Sofia Diogo Mateus, Audience Development Editor at Politico Europe, discusses the role of social media in online political journalism. We talk about the importance of audience development, the tools used to assist in online publishing and measuring engagement, and the benefits and pitfalls of user generated content (UGC). We also discuss Sofia's work as Head of Facebook at Deutsche Welle, strategies around content moderation, and the value of reporting political news for international audiences. 

Click here to view the Social Media Producer job posting at Politico Europe. 

And here to sign up to Tom Moylan's newsletter! 

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Incivility, Intolerance, and Misinformation Sharing on Social Media and News Websites, with Dr. Patricía Rossini

Dr. Patricía Rossini, Derby Fellow in the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool, discusses her latest research on informal political talk online. We break down differences between incivility and intolerance in online discussions, as well as misinformation sharing across Facebook and WhatsApp. 

The two studies we discuss in the episode are: 

Beyond Incivility: Understanding Patterns of Uncivil and Intolerant Discourse in Online Political TalkDysfunctional Information Sharing on WhatsApp and Facebook: The Role of Political Talk, Cross-Cutting Exposure and Social Corrections
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Instagram for Political Campaigning, Agenda Setting, and the 2020 US Election

Dr. Terri Towner, Professor of Political Science at Oakland University, discusses her research on political campaigning and information on Instagram. We also give first impressions from the last presidential debate between Trump and Biden, and break down some poll results about citizens' social media use during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Here are the two studies we discuss in the episode: 

The Image is the Message: Instagram Marketing and the 2016 Presidential Primary Season

Instagramming Issues: Agenda Setting During the 2016 Presidential Campaign

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Bad News, Social Media, and Digital Campaigning in Britain, with Dr. Mark Pack

Dr. Mark Pack, President of the Liberal Democrats, guests to discuss his new book: "Bad News: What the Headlines Don't Tell Us." We talk about some of the flaws of election campaign coverage and how to be better consumers of news using social media. Dr. Pack also shares his insights on digital campaigning in Britain, where he ran digital operations for the LibDems in the 2001 and 2005 general elections. 

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The Hype Machine: Political Implications of the Social Media Industrial Complex, with Prof. Sinan Aral

Sinan Aral, David Austin Professor of Management at MIT and Director of MIT's Initiative on the Digital Economy, discusses his new book "The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health?and How We Must Adapt."

Prof. Aral breaks down key theoretical concepts from the book, which outlines some of the fundamental mechanisms for how social media platforms operate. We also discuss the science behind these concepts and their implications for elections, politics, and society. 

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Data-Driven Political Campaigning in Germany, with Dr. André Haller and Simon Kruschinski

Dr. André Haller (University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tyrol) and Simon Kruschinski (University of Mainz) share their research into data-driven political campaigning in Germany. We discuss the key political, legal, and cultural factors that influence German politicians digital campaigning, differences in organic posts versus paid advertisements, and how social media platforms have been used by fringe political actors.

Here's the research paper we discuss in the episode: Restrictions on Data-Driven Political Micro-targeting in Germany.


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China's Influence Operations, Propaganda, and Disinformation, with Vanessa Molter

Vanessa Molter, Graduate Research Assistant at the Stanford Internet Observatory, breaks down her new report: "Telling China's Story: The Chinese Communist Party's Campaign to Shape Global Narratives." 

We discuss what researchers currently know about China's influence operations on social media, how they compare with Russia's disinformation strategies, and dive into the report's three case studies: the 2019 Hong Kong protests, the 2020 Taiwanese presidential elections, and the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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Data Science across Academia, Industry, and Progressive Campaigns, with Dr. Solomon Messing

Dr. Solomon Messing, Chief Scientist at ACRONYM and Affiliated Researcher at Georgetown University, shares his insights on data science across academia, the tech industry, and political campaigning space. We discuss how computational social science methods have changed over time, and how system architectures can be built to protect social media users' privacy. We also chat about current trends that Dr. Messing is observing at ACRONYM relating to the persuasiveness and cost of political ads on social media. 

Here's the paper we discuss on differential privacy, and the Facebook URLs Dataset Codebook

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