Social Media and Politics
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Social Media and Politics is a podcast bringing you innovative, first-hand insights into how social media is changing the political game. Subscribe for interviews and analysis with politicians, academics, and leading industry experts to get their take on how social media influences the ways we engage with politics and democracy.

Social Media and Politics is hosted by Michael Bossetta, political scientist at the University of Copenhagen. Feedback, comments, and suggestions for future episodes are welcome to

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    Radicalization and Foreign Fighters: The Story of Lukas, with Karolina Dam [SMP032]

    Karolina Dam, founder of the NGO Sons and Daughters of the World, joins the podcast this week to tell the story of her son, Lukas. Lukas is a Danish citizen who became radicalized in Copenhagen, fled to Syria, and joined ISIS. We discuss how Facebook groups are used to recruit potential terrorists, the role that social media can play in deradicalization, and the types of communication that take place between a foreign fighter and his mother.

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    Political Talk on Social Media: Helping or Hurting Democracy?, with Dr. Scott Wright [SMP031]

    Dr. Scott Wright, Senior Lecturer in Political Communication at the University of Melbourne, joins the pod to discuss what citizens' everyday political talk on social media and other online forums means for democracy. D.r Wright shares findings from his research that the design of online forms, and the level of moderation occurring within hem, have a demonstrable impact on the quality of democratic debate that occurs in these online, 'Third Spaces.' Tune in to find out more!

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    Gab: The Free Speech Social Network, with Utsav Sanduja [SMP030]

    Gab is an upstart social network with over 200,000 users that does not censor its users' content. Utsav Sanduja, Gab's Chief Communications Officer and Global Affairs Director, joins the podcast to discuss what this social media is all about and addresses some of the recent controversies surrounding it. We discuss how Twitter and Facebook have been censoring users' content, the role of Gab in supporting free speech online, and what Gab's position is on bots and fake news on the platform. Utsav also talks about the choices made in developing the site's features, what's next for the Gab, and the social network's ambitions to go foster a global community.

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    Citizen Marketers and the Bernie Sanders Campaign on Social Media, with Dr. Joel Penney [SMP029]

    Dr. Joel Penney, Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University, guests this week to discuss his new book "The Citizen Marketer: Promoting Political Opinion in the Social Media Age." The book explores how everyday citizens actively assist in the promotion of political messages through their social media activity, following logics of viral marketing to enact persuasion at a peer-to-peer level.

    Dr. Penney then shares his research on the Bernie Sanders campaign and the role that citizens played on social media, and Facebook in particular, to help the campaign get out its message through official and unofficial channels.

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    The UK's New Digital Left: Paid Social, Civic Tech, and Mobilizing the Youth Vote, with Samir Patel [SMP028]

    Samir Patel, Managing Director at Blue State Digital London, guests this week to discuss how the recent success of the Labour Party in the 2017 British elections was aided by a huge push in digital by the British Left. We discuss the role that Facebook data targeting played in the election - not just from Labour but also advocacy groups. Samir also explains how social media was used to mobilize the British youth vote, how citizens built their own digital tools to campaign, and some transnational differences (and similarities) between campaigning in the United States, United Kingdom, and other parts of the European Union.

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    Who's Targeting You? Facebook Dark Ads in the British Election Campaign, with Sam Jeffers [SMP027]

    Sam Jeffers, co-founder of Who Targets Me, joins the podcast to discuss how sponsored Facebook ads were used by political parties in the 2017 British General Election. Who Targets Me is a project collecting targeted Facebook ads via a Google Chrome extension, and its aim is to shed light on who's posting political dark ads as well as who's being targeted. We discuss the project and what the initial data shows from GE2017.

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    How Social Media Affects Engagement with Civic and Political Life, with Dr. Shelley Boulianne [SMP026]

    Dr. Shelley Boulianne, Associate Professor in Sociology at MacEwan University, joins the show to share insights from her research on how social media is impacting citizens' engagement in civic and political life. Dr. Boulianne discusses the findings of her meta-analysis studies, comparing the results of existing research in order to better uncover how social media is affecting citizens engagement with politics.

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    The 2017 British Elections on Social Media, with Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten [SMP025]

    Host Michael Bossetta and Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten discuss parties and citizens used social media to campaign in the 2017 UK General Elections, where Theresa May's gamble to call a snap election backfired on her Conservative Party. We break down the election results and their implications for Brexit. We also look at how Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat were used by the major parties and their supporters.

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    Donald Trump and Scott Walker's Digital Strategy on Social Media, with Matthew Oczkowski [SMP024]

    Matthew Oczkowski, Head of Product at Cambridge Analytica, joins the show to discuss his experience heading digital strategy for the Scott Walker primary campaign and Donald Trump general election. We discuss how the candidates used Snapchat and other social media, the differences between primary and general election campaigning in terms of digital strategy and marketing, and we also discuss how microtargeting works in practice.

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    Snapchat and the Marco Rubio Campaign, with Eric Wilson [SMP023]

    Eric Wilson, Digital Director for the Marco Rubio for President campaign, guests on the podcast to discuss how the Rubio campaign used social media in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. We focus on Snapchat and discuss how the platform was used to reach voters, how the campaign crafted Snapchat stories, and where Snapchat fit into the campaign's overall social media strategy. Eric also discusses how Snapchat was used to promote a 'Vote Early Day' initiative that set off media coverage and tweets from Donald Trump on Twitter, as well as how a Snapchat lens was used in the Australia federal elections the same year.

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