Lecture #3 – University of Copenhagen

Social Media and Contemporary Political Participation: Transatlantic Trends in the EU and US

By PhD Michael Bossetta

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Abstract of lecture:

The “Age of Trump” marks an epoch within a broader societal transformation: “The Digital Age.” What the rapidly increasing popularity – and sophistication – of internet communication technologies means for the future of democracy remains an open question. However, by now it is clear that social media can have a significant impact on contemporary political processes.  As a menacing case-in-point, the Age of Trump begins under the dark shadow of Russian-backed attempts to undermine public trust in Western democracies through the manipulation of online channels, both in the EU and the US.    

In this EURECO lecture, we’ll explore the state-of-the-art in social media research and discuss the key trends relating to how political actors and citizens are using social media to achieve their political goals. Using data from Michael’s recent work on the 2016 U.S. Presidential election as well as the Brexit referendum, he’ll answer such questions as: How are political campaigns using data-driven targeting to persuade and mobilize voters through social media? What role does social media play in the rising success of anti-establishment candidates? What transnational trends can we identify regarding how citizens use social media to influence electoral outcomes? How do the different designs of social media platforms affect how citizens participate in politics?

Introduction to Michael Bossetta:

Michael Bossetta is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for European Politics, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. His research interests primarily relate to the impact of social media on contemporary political processes.  In particular, he employs computational methods to study how political campaigns and citizens use social media during elections. Michael is the producer and host of the Social Media and Politics Podcast, a free podcast series available on iTunes and all other podcast apps.