April 8th Public Event

Social media and the prospects for expanded democratic participation in national policy-setting.
Public Event April 8th at 4:30pm
Boston University College of Communication
640 Commonwealth Ave Boston, MA Room 209

The Division of Emerging Media Studies and the Center for Mobile Communication are co-sponsoring a public event April 8, 2015 at 4:30pm on the potential role, both positive and negative, of social media in setting national goals and policies.

The power of social media appears at times almost limitless. Indeed, when explaining the reasons for ISIL’s surprising success, President Obama included in the list that they had been “savvy in terms of their social media” (CBS 60 Minutes, 9/28/14). While there is no arguing that social media have affected daily life, their impact on the conduct governance, widely considered, seems slight. This is perhaps surprising since social media offers the promise of expanded participation and more inclusive participation opportunities in governance. Yet although social media have demonstrated their critical role in electoral politics and many other domains including disseminating political news and information, they have not yet been effectively deployed in helping set national policy.

Dr. Michael Bruter will be our featured speaker for the event. Dr. Bruter’s talk is entitled “Can social media use backfire? A 6 country experiment on twitter usage in election campaigns.” Dr. Bruter publishes widely in political psychology, elections, and political behavior. His most recent book, The Future of our Democracies examines the motivations of young Europeans to engage in the political process despite their generation’s tendency to political apathy.

After Dr. Bruter’s talk there will be a panel of discussants who will react to the talk and explore topics such as whether social media is fundamentally pro- or anti-democratic. Below is a current list of discussants. Dr. James Katz of the CMCS will moderate.

Deen Freelon is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communications at American University. His research expertise is in political expression through digital media and the use of computation methods to extract, preprocess, and analyze massive amounts of online data.

Anshul Jain is a Ph.D candidate in political science at Boston University. His  dissertation concentrates on the role of digital media in the participation of subgroups of the Indian diaspora in the political life of their home country.

Daniel Kreiss is an Assistant Professor in the School of Media and Journalism at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research explores the impact of technological change on the public sphere and political practice.

This event will be a wonderful opportunity to learn and network with leaders in the field of emerging media and policy-setting. Reserve your space at the public event for guaranteed seating here.

Please email Jill Walsh at mobicom@bu.edu with any questions about the event.