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 • 15:31 - 17:00
Social Media, U.S. Presidential Campaigns, and Public Opinion Polls: Disentangling Effects [WIP]

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Authors: Patricia Rossini, Jeff Hemsley, Sikana Tanupabrungsun, Feifei Zhang, Jerry Robinson and Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Abstract: The use of digital technologies by political campaigns have been a topic of scholarly concern for over two decades. However, these studies have been mostly focused on analyzing the use of digital platforms without considering contextual factors of the race, like public opinion polling data. However, polling data is an important information source for both citizens and candidates, and provide the latter with information that might drive strategic communication. In this paper, we explore the relationship between the use of social media in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections and candidates' standing in public opinion polls focusing on the surfacing and primary stages of the campaign. We are also interested in understanding whether candidates use Twitter and Facebook in similar ways. We use automated content analysis to categorize social media posts from all 21 Republican and Democratic candidates that ran for president in 2016. Specifically, we are interested in observing whether a candidate's performance in the polls drives certain communicative strategies, such as the use of attacks and messages of advocacy, as well as the focus on personal image or policy issues.

Saturday July 29, 2017 15:31 - 17:00 EDT
TRS 1-147 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9