COMM3106 - This revolution will probably be networked
Patrick Ruffini“New rule for politics: If youre notthe guy with the nuclear launchcodes, youre not too important toTwitter or blog”
This Revolution willDefinitely not be Televised• Conventional media channels reinforcing the “broadcastpolitics” paradigm:Sources; Trippi, 2004;; Putnam, 2001; Bennett and Manheim, 2006; Chadwick, 2006; Shah, Cho et al., 2005.Highly hierarchical“top-down” transfersof “controlledinformation”Political andMedia Elites“Deceitful”;“Negative”;“Manipulative”.Increasingdesire toorganize“Highly-dispersed”mass audienceMajority of scientific research on “broadcast politics”Limited interactions
This Revolution willDefinitely not be Televised• Steadily flattening or declining use of conventional sourcefor politically-oriented information:Considering the Internetas a “single entity” canbe potentially“misleading”Sources; Baumgartner and Morris, 2009.
Restructuration of themedia landscape• “Explosive” growth and adoption of Web-based contentdissemination and community-building channels:Sources; Trippi, 2004;; Putnam, 2001; Bennett and Manheim, 2006; Chadwick, 2006;
Mission: Decentralization• Declining confidence in formal political institutions;• Growing importance of “self-organizing” (or organizingwithout organizations): Decentralization on information flows and socialrelations; Technologies provide new and “attractive ways” to bepolitically-engaged; Challenge for formal organizations.• Rise of “postbureaucratic organizations”: “Flexible structure”; Constantly adapting to externalenvironment; Redefinition of formal tasks.Sources; Kreiss, 2009; Pasek, moore et al., 2009: 199; Bimber, Flanagin et al., 2005.; Bennett, Wells et al., 2009.Bruce Bimber
Mission: Decentralization• The “Letting Go”-styled, or open source, campaigning:Sources; Kreiss, 2009; Trippi, 2004; Schmidt, 2007Mark SchmittLetting Go takes a lot of daring, given theculture of politics as discipline. Its likegoing to a Japanese restaurant and eatingwhatever youre served. Not everyone cando that. But the rewards are great, notjust for the campaign itself, but for thepolitical culture that will develop overtime as a result of a more open, daring,and larger politics.MyBO, based onPartyBuilders
Mission: Decentralization• Example: HillaryHub (based on DrudgeReport.com)Hillary Clinton
Hyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political Audience• Characterization of the current Web-based informationaland communicational environment: “Highly-fragmented”; “Niche-oriented”; “User-controlled”.• Disintegration “of broadly shared social and politicalexperience[, “knowledge” as well as “community concerns”],and the rise of personalized realities” that can shape citizens’behaviour: Information gathering; Participation; Etc.• Impact on netizens’ perception of the political reality?Sources; Kreiss, 2009; Pasek, moore et al., 2009: 199; Bimber, Flanagin et al., 2005.; Bennett, Wells et al., 2009.
• “Anticipated agreement hypothesis”: Preferences for digital material and social relationsvalidating, complementing and, in some cases,reinforcing pre-existing political attitudes andpredispositions; Repeated exposure to “attitude-consistent”information; Partial “balkanization and polarization” of the politicalenvironment.• Possible outcomes:• Distorted perception and understanding;• Netizens less politically-flexible and tolerant;• Polarization of the electorate (cohesion).Hyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political AudiencePolitical PreferencesSources; Binder, Dalrymple et al., 2009; Feezell, Conroy et al., 2009; Knobloch-Westerwick and Meng, 2009 .
• Example: RepublicanvilleHyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political AudiencePolitical Preferences
• “Issue publics hypothesis”: “Netizens” prefer “issues they care about” and that theymight find “useful”; Individuals have limited “resources and motivations”; Cognitively-impossible to be fully informed.• Issue likings can sometimes supersede their political andideological preferences;• Increasing impact of the “portal effect”.• Possible outcomes: Framing effect on political preferences and behaviour; Narrow perception of the political world.Hyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political AudienceIssue PreferencesSources; Lecheler, De Vreese et al., 2009; Kim, 2008; Iyengar, Hahn et al., 2009; Gurevitch, Coleman et al, 2009.
• Example: Voices for PhysiciansHyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political AudienceIssue preferences
• “Netizens” are more likely to rely on media platformsmaintained by individuals or organizations they perceive astrustworthily for politically-oriented news items, opinions ormobilization purposes than any other communicationchannels;• Growing credibility divide between Web-based sources;• Two (2) primary dimensions of credibility: Source: Affiliation; Experience; Likeability. Delivery: Verifiability; “Objectivity”.Hyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political AudiencePerceived CredibilitySources; Melican and Dixon, 2008; Kim and Johnson, 2009; Stroud and Reese, 2009; Garrett and Danziger, 2009.
• “McCainBlogette.com” by Meghan McCainHyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political AudiencePerceived Credibility
• Online audience can now be seen as a constellation of “socialnomadic clusters”Hyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political AudienceGeographical locationSources; Campbell and Kwak, 2009; Cogburn, 2009.Information Mobilization
• Here are other factors of fragmentation: “Socially-defining characteristics”; Content genre likings; Media experiences; Media functionality preferences; Etc.• Fragmentation patterns expected to rapidly evolve.Hyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political AudienceSources; Park and Kluver, 2009; Cogburn, 2009. Tewksbury, 2008; Holbert and Geidner, 2009.
• Other example: Obama in “Grand Turismo”Hyper-Fragmentation ofOnline Political Audience