While social media’s incredible growth has fostered extraordinary new possibilities for human connection and creativity, it has also enabled – and at times even incentivised – a 21st century resurgence of extremism, disinformation, surveillance, and many other ills.
For the 15th anniversary issue of Monocle, I was commissioned to write a piece about the many changes to social media, and society, since 2007. The piece is now available in print and online.
Trump’s transition from mainstream platform user to putative platform operator marks a watershed moment in the politics of platform governance. The launch of “Truth Social” brings to light a frequently underrated aspect of platform governance: how platform operators govern not only their own users, but also other platforms.
I have a new blog post at the OII discussing what the launch of Donald Trump’s “Truth Social” app may mean for platform governance going forward.
I was live on the BBC World Service’s Newsday programme this morning to discuss the escalation of tensions between President Donald Trump and the social networking site Twitter. Listen here (48 minutes in).
I presented this paper, co-authored with Katie Arthur, at MIT’s Media in Transition conference in May 2019.
That social media both “giveth and taketh away” is not a new idea, but it is one that came to the fore in the tumultuous 2016. As the events of that year showed, while technological advances have afforded new space for radical media strategies—helping advance goals such as climate justice—so too have they created opportunities for political candidates from outside the mainstream to leverage populist resentment in the successful pursuit of political power. In this paper, we will explore how the use of civic media has evolved in the two years since our CMS Masters theses were submitted. While Donald Trump has, as President, consolidated his hold on mainstream media attention via his Twitter account, other voices have also emerged from the very different tradition of civic organising to share space on the “platform” of Twitter. Among the most prominent of these new voices is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose political experience as an organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign and as a supporter of marginalised communities such as the residents of Standing Rock, helped propel her to the U.S. House of Representatives, as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. In the paper we will explore Ocasio-Cortez’s rise, with a focus on her visibility on social media. As we will show, the rapid rise of “AOC” holds lessons for the prospects of both the “Green New Deal” policy she has trumpeted, and for whichever Democratic candidate is nominated to challenge Donald Trump in 2020.
Cowls, Josh, and Schroeder, Ralph (2018). Tweeting All The Way to the White House. In Boczkowski, Pablo & Papacharissi, Zizi. (Eds.). (2018). Trump and the Media. MIT Press.
The presentation of my MIT thesis, “From Trump Tower to the White House, in 140 Characters”, is now available:
The following is a slightly edited version of a talk I gave at the Data Power conference in Sheffield this week, presenting work by myself and Ralph Schroeder.
The question of what drives news coverage far pre-dates the Internet and the rise of social media, and over the decades – or indeed the centuries – of mass media, myriad explanations have been offered in answer. Continue reading “Big Data – What’s New(s)?”
Published in the Oxonian Globalist.
Can Twitter truly transform how the political agenda is set? Continue reading “Top of the Tree”