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Digital Politics, Digital Citizens


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  • 1. Digital Politics, Digital Citizens & What’s New in We the People, 9th Edition Caroline J. Tolbert Professor of Political Science University of Iowa 1
  • 2. Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody (2008) “I’m old enough to know a lot of things, just from life experience. I know that newspapers are where you get your political news and how you look for a job. I know that music comes from stores. I know that if you want to have a conversation with someone, you call them on the phone. I know that complicated things like software and encyclopedias have to be created by professionals. In the last fifteen years, I’ve had to unlearn every one of those things, and a million others, because those things have stopped being true” (p. 320–321).
  • 3. Technology and the Internet are changingsociety and politics:
  • 4. Digital cities have “digital citizens”Mossberger, Tolbert and McNeal (2008) argue thatAmericans have become “digital citizens” and that fullparticipation in society requires being online. Digitalcitizens use the Internet daily for work, politics, health,entertainment, etc.In much the same way that education and literacypromoted democracy and economic growth in the 19thand 20th Centuries, digital literacy has the potential tobenefit society as a whole in the 21st Century, and tofacilitate the inclusion and empowerment of individuals.Citizenship requires access to prevailing forms ofcommunication.
  • 5. Digital Citizens Internet has transformed the world of politics. Three in 4 Internet users read the news online, and nearly as many use online political information. Social media (Facebook, Twitter), blogs, online videos, mobile apps, online campaign ads continue to transform how Americans participate in politics. Digital citizenship = regular and effective use of the Internet, including (1) high-speed home access & (2) the skills to use the technology. Home access and high-speed access are necessary for “digital citizenship,” or the regular and effective use that enable full participation in society online.
  • 6. Digital citizens have opportunity Digital citizenship= regular and effective use of the Internet, including broadband home access and the skills to use the technology. Spillover benefits of broadband use for multiple policy domains, including education, health, transportation, more efficient delivery of government services, economic development, transportation, housing, politics, commerce and more. Individuals that use the Internet at work earn higher wages, even those with only a high school degree. Use of the Internet for politics (online news, reading blogs, sending/receiving email) leads to increased political interest, knowledge, discussion, political participation and voting (Mossberger, Tolbert and McNeal 2008).
  • 7. Measuring spillover benefits of access:Individuals versus place Most research on digital inequality has focused on individuals, based on surveys from the Pew Internet and American Life, Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), FCC or participant surveys, there are also important variations in access by place. Measuring access by geographic area or communities allows a measure of the broader spillover effects of digital citizenship and Internet use. It also provides a way for policy to target areas of needs. Governments, non-profits and businesses can better target social services and products to areas of need. As of 2012, 85% of American live in metro areas.
  • 8. Broadband mapping and mapping actualInternet useWhile maps of broadband access from the federal government show 100% of most counties in the U.S. have access, this is based on data from providers showing where service is available to purchase.Infrastructure mapping, while valuable, doesn’t tell us how the technology is being used (inputs versus outputs). Infrastructure mapping does not reveal the actual percentage of the population with Internet access or that uses the Internet for jobs, politics, etc.We need to measure actual use, and how that leads to better outcomes in health, educational attainment, etc.
  • 9. Why We Need Urban Broadband Data &PolicyCities and metros have potential to: ◦ Foster innovation and social benefits  Density & diversity facilitate knowledge spillovers and specialization (Glaeser 2011; Forman et al. 2005, 2008) ◦ Address inequality  Leading edge of diversifying nation (Brookings 2010)  Inclusive networks and use increase social benefits Yet, there is little data on Internet use available on cities and neighborhoods to guide policy and measure impacts Aggregate data on urban vs. rural areas masks substantial variation in Internet use & activities online National broadband maps mask inequality in Internet access across states, cities and neighborhoods
  • 10. Ranking Cities and ChicagoNeighborhoods by Internet Use City wide survey data via random telephone sampling (combing cellphone and landline numbers, Spanish and English language interviewing). Surveys are representative of populations. Method: Multilevel statistical modeling with post- stratification weights Random intercept models Variation in opportunity and inequality across communities Results show place matters
  • 11. Comparing Cities(Mossberger, Tolbert and Franko, December 2012, Digital Cities:The Internet and the Geography of Opportunity, Oxford UniversityPress) Broadband at home varies widely across cities Seattle 83% - Buffalo 39% Estimates from 2009 CPS using multilevel statistical models for central cities in 50 largest metro areas (and balance suburbs for 50 largest metros) African-Americans & Latinos have highest rates of adoption where high % of population overall is online Cities with low broadband adoption notable for economic disinvestment, high Latino populations Spanish-dominant Latinos in central cities the group furthest behind in any measure of IT use (analysis of CPS
  • 12. Broadband at Home, Central Cities
  • 13. Neighborhood Effects Unique neighborhood-level data for Chicago, from citywide RDD survey of 3465 respondents (conducted in 2008, 2011 and now in 2013) Geocoded, merged with Census data at tract level and then aggregated to community level area Multilevel statistical models create estimates for 77 community areas Can model how place matters (segregation & concentrated poverty) Can map variation within cities - geography of broadband opportunity & disadvantage
  • 14. Owner9/28/12Toomanymaps,andthey
  • 15. Broadband vs. Smartphone Access, 2011
  • 16. Can Analysis be Conducted for other Cities?(NSF grant)Little data to measure inequality in access, change or policy impact at city & neighborhood level.Current Population Survey (CPS) very limited access to census tract level data.Neighborhood-level data currently available only for Chicago and Cleveland via our research. Cities such as NY, LA, Phoenix and Houston have high Latino populations.Chicago Smart Communities evaluation of BTOP SBA – tracking change at community level (2008, 2011, 2013) as well as individual outcomes. Our research.Affordability not well addressed in current federal policy, and social inequality (poverty, race, ethnicity, age) drive disparities in urban and rural areasResearch from Chicago suggests neighborhoods “treated” with federally funded technology centers and training have higher rates of Internet use three years later. 15% higher increase in Internet use than similar untreated neighborhoods, controlling
  • 17. The Internet and American politicsSome examples for discussion
  • 18. Narwhal: How Technology Won the 2012Election Narwhal was the code name for the data platform that underpinned the 2012 Obama campaign and let it track voters and volunteers using Amazon services. "Game day” October 21. With the election 17 days away, this was a live action role-playing exercise that the campaigns chief technology officer, Harper Reed, was inflicting on his team. Reed: "We worked through every possible disaster situation. … We did three actual all-day sessions of destroying everything we had built.” The tech team had elite talent from Twitter, Google, Facebook, Craigslist, Quora … all in their 30s.
  • 19. How Technology Won the 2012 Election  Sasha Issenberg describes in The Victory Lab (2012) big data gave Obama 2012 the names of all 69 million people who voted for the candidate in 2008 and allowed the campaign to rebuild that winning coalition. Owner 9/ They are  Big data told the campaign which voters were undecided report 201 and even which voters with otherwise Republican attitudes could be swayed to vote for the president.  The campaign spent over $100 million developing the biggest network of people in political history. Millions of Americans heard from other Americans about issues they cared about.  Those conversations were more powerful than the billions of dollars spent on TV ads. Owner 9/28/ Demographic this slide is c  and you don connected ar
  • 20. How Technology Won the 2012 Election  Mitt Romney’s campaign and its allies made the same mistake Hillary Clinton made in 2008: they ran a top-down 9/28 Owner campaign focused on buying television ads and influencingare go They report 2010 the media.  Orca was the GOP answer to Obamas ground game. It failed.  While the Obama and Romney campaigns raised roughly $1 billion each, and spent roughly the same on television ads, Obama’s ground game and online strategy were miles ahead of Romney 2012.  As Issenberg argues, the GOP didn’t understand the new politics. One dejected Romney staffer said after the election, “We weren’t even running in the same race.” Demographic Owner 9/28/ this slide is c and you don connected ar
  • 21. One state—Obama’s 2012 Ground Game  Volunteers for the Obama campaign knocked on doors 1.9 million times in Iowa and made 2 million phone calls in their effort to get the president re-elected.  Iowa had 1.96 million active registered voters as of Nov. 6, and 1.59 million voted.  Dvorsky, chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party: “I mean, only 3 million people live here. If you knock out the babies, every single voter was touched by our campaign.”  In most campaigns, the number of phone calls volunteers make to connect with voters far outpaces the number of face-to-face visits because phone calls are easier and quicker. But in Iowa, the Obama campaign nearly matched door knocks to phone calls. Technology made the ground game possible.
  • 22. Jan. 18, 2012, Internet blackout/online protest Online protests to preserve Internet freedom provide a striking example of how new media can be used to mobilize offline participation in politics. Media “content producers” have long complained of severe economic losses due to online piracy: the illegal downloading of music, movies, TV shows and books, copyrighted material posted by foreign piracy websites. Early in 2012, at the urging of media companies and industry associations, Congress proposed laws, known as SOPA and PIPA, to extend U.S. copyright laws beyond U.S. borders.
  • 23. Jan. 18, 2012, Internet blackout/online protest While acknowledging that online piracy was a problem, the technology industry objected to provisions that would have held them liable for policing any website they linked to that might contain pirated content, such as a video or song. Google links to millions and millions of websites. Opponents of SOPA and PIPA said that the proposals would allow government censorship of the Internet and would damage free and open online communication.
  • 24. Jan. 18, 2012, Internet blackout/online protest More than 100 websites launched a coordinated protest, including a 24-hour shutdown of the online encyclopedia. Wikipedia users were redirected to a black screen providing information on the bills and links to contact Congress. In 1 day there were 160 million visits to the site, and more than 4 million people accessed the information about contacting their member of Congress.   Google users faced a black censorship bar blocking the Google logo and a link reading “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the Web!” The search engine directed users to a petition opposing the bills; 10 million people signed the petition in 24 hours.
  • 25. Digital Citizens America has become a nation of digital citizens. Mossberger, Tolbert, and McNeal (2008) argue that Americans have become “digital citizens” and that full participation in society requires being online. Digital citizens use the Internet daily for work, politics, health, transportation, family and friends, entertainment, etc. Citizenship requires access to prevailing forms of communication.
  • 26. Digital Citizens Have Opportunity Spillover benefits of broadband use for multiple policy domains, including education, health, transportation, more efficient delivery of government services, economic development, transportation, and more. Individuals that use the Internet at work earn higher wages, even those with only a high school degree. Use of the Internet for politics (reading online news and blogs, sending/receiving email) leads to increased political interest, knowledge, discussion, political participation, and voting (Mossberger, Tolbert, and McNeal 2008).
  • 27. Inequality and the Less Connected  68 percent of American households had broadband at home (NTIA 2011).  3 in 10 Americans were either offline or less connected.  Latinos were the least likely to have broadband at home (at 45%), followed by African Americans (at 50%), lagged behind white non-Hispanics.  The majority of African Americans and Latinos were less connected, as well as 42% of individuals w/ incomes less than 25K.  Americans with only a high school degree have just a 50% chance of broadband at home.
  • 28. Digital Politics  Digital media and politics continued to weave together in new forms in the 2012 election.  Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight blog with daily election forecasts overshadowed the traditional political pundits of the mainstream media.  Obama and Romney campaign ads popped up everywhere.  Memes on social media such as “Binders full of Women” went viral, having a greater impact on voter decisions than the ads run by the candidate campaigns.  The 2012 election witnessed the growing importance of online videos, mobile applications, digital fundraising, and saw unprecedented online mobilization and political campaigning moving the nation one step closer to a digital democracy.
  • 29. Social Media and Politics  Social media is uniquely designed for political participation in elections.  As of 2012, 60% of American adults use either social- networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, and four in 10 American adults have used this forum for politics.  One in 5 registered voters was the mobilizer, encouraging their friends and family to vote by posting on these forums.  This number rose to 34% of young people (18–29).  This compared to 54% of registered voters who had face-to- face conversations and 25% who talked on the phone with others.
  • 30. Social Media and Politics  On Election Day 2012, Pew surveys found 1 in 5 registered voters let others know how they voted on a social- networking site.  Political discussions also turned to social media, where people tried to convince their friends how to vote.  30% of registered voters heard from family and friends via Facebook or Twitter that they should vote for Democrat Obama or Republican Romney.  This compares to 48% who had face-to-face conversations and 29% who had phone conversations about the candidates.
  • 31. Mobile Apps and Politics  Mobile politics also hit new highs in the 2012 election.  Twenty-seven percent of registered voters who own a cell phone have used their phone in this election campaign to keep up with news related to the election or politics.  One in five cell phone owners have sent text messages related to the campaign to friends, family members, or others.  One in two smartphone owners used it to read election news, access social-networking sites, or fact check campaign statements in real time
  • 32. Online Donations and Politics Campaign donations continued to go digital in 2012, building on the trend begun in 2008. Thirteen percent of adults donated to one of the presidential candidates in 2012. While 67% donated in person, over the telephone, or through the traditional mail, one in two donated online. 57 percent of Democratic campaign donors gave online or via email in 2012 compared with 34% of Republican donors. One in ten 2012 presidential campaign donors contributed via text message or cell phone application. Democrats are more likely to contribute online or directly from their cell phones than Republicans.
  • 33. How to Learn More? We the People, 9th Edition  A traditional American politics textbook with a digital politics twist.  New Digital Citizen boxes for each chapter focus on how online politics is changing government, politics, participation, and policy.  New Get Involved/Go Online (GIGO) boxes at the end of each chapter provide opportunities for students to learn about politics online first hand.  Updated text, especially for the chapters on the media, public opinion, participation, campaigns and elections, and political parties. New text covers all the basics but emphasizes the new world of digital politics.