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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).

Saturday, July 29 • 11:01 - 12:30
Rethinking Emotional Desensitization To Violence: Methodological And Theoretical Insights From Social Media Data [WIP]

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Authors: Jianing Li, Devin Conathan and Ceri Hughes

Abstract: One path of gaining insights from Internet is to revisit traditional theories through novel methodology it fosters. The current study applies computerized linguistic analysis to study emotional desensitization towards violence through Twitter posts, which makes twofold contributions. First, the computational method overcomes the limitation of laboratory and cross-sectional survey approaches. Longitudinal effect of desensitization, which were unexamined or indirectly inferred by previous studies, could now be observed and analyzed directly without artificial inference. Second, the findings expand the previous unified conceptualization of emotional desensitization. People show significant decrease in disgust, sadness, and anger, yet notable increase in anxiety towards gun violence during 2012-2015, despite an overall decrease in the aggregation of above negative emotions. The results call for more careful conceptualization of emotional desensitization, and how methodological improvements supported by social media data can help deepen understanding of desensitization theory is discussed.

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:01 - 12:30
TRS 1-075 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9

Attendees (7)