2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

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Saturday, July 29 • 11:01 - 12:30
Call To Retweet: Negotiated Diffusion Of Strategic Political Messages [FULL]

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Authors: Jeff Hemsley, Sikana Tanupabrungsun and Bryan Semaan

Abstract: Twitter allows political candidates to broadcast messages directly to the public, some of which spread virally and potentially reach new audiences and supporters. During the 2014 U.S. gubernatorial election, 74 candidates posted 20,580 tweets, of which, 10,946 were retweeted a total of 139,315 times. Using content analysis, automated classification and regression analysis, we show that actors with different levels of network influence tend to promote different types of election content, but that the convergence of their choices and actions lead to information flows that reach the largest audiences. We also show that actors with middle-level influence, in terms of the number of followers they have, tend to be the most influential in the diffusion process. Our work provides empirical support for the theoretical framework of negotiated diffusion, which suggests that information flows are the result of the convergence of top-down forces (structures and powerful gatekeepers) and bottom-up forces (collective sharing of actors with varying degrees of influence).

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:01 - 12:30 EDT
TRS 1-073 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4