Dr. Galen Stocking, Computational Social Scientist at Pew Research Center, discusses political polarization and how it relates to social media use. We take a deep dive into how Pew Research Center measures polarization empirically, how polarization has changed over time, and how widening partisan gaps relate to citizens' traditional and social media habits. Dr. Stocking also discusses the role of computational methods in survey research, using one of his recent studies on media sources shared on Twitter during immigration debates as a case. We also talk about Reddit, which has a relatively low user base in the United States compared to other social media platforms. Yet, Dr. Stocking's research has uncovered that Reddit users are highly active in consuming news on the site.
Pew Research Center sources cited in the episode:
Graphic Illustration of Political Polarization 1994-2017
Sources Shared on Twitter: A Case Study of Immigration (2018)
News Use across Social Media (2018)
Dr. Stocking's study on Reddit (2016)