Category: Social Media and Political Participation

The Rebellious Images: Representation VS Revolution

Today we are witnessing the return to the idea of revolution in art, the media and public discussion. But how does our contemporary understanding of Revolution differ from the past? Join Professor Almira Ousmanova, from European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania), for a discussion on the convergence of theoretical discourses on revolution, the new forms of political activism and contemporary aesthetic praxis. The event will take place at Villa Sassetti, starting from 12:30pm.

Advocacy, Activism and Political Change: Special Opportunity for Students!

The Transformative Power of Art exhibition Fabrizio Ruggiero, the United Nations, New York, New York

All NYU Florence students are invited to participate in this Spring’s Ideas, People, Change series. This project explores the power of individuals to bring about change through public advocacy and activism, with the strength of their ideas and beliefs. Intellectuals, scientists, artists, but also political leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela, have exerted leadership at the global level; their authoritative voices have given hope to millions of people and made a difference beyond the boundaries of their nations. These public intellectuals and leaders could be defined as individuals who, in the globalized public sphere, engage in the battle of ideas.

Over the course of the semester, we will explore the impact of intellectuals, artists, and activists in contemporary society through the artworks of Fabrizio Ruggiero and his important collection of fresco portraits that was displayed at the United Nations Headquarters in New York with the title “The Transformative Power of Art.”   Read more

Twitter & Politics: What’s the Fate of your Follow? Natalia Ramirez interview with Professor Cristian Vaccari

SocialMedia3NYU Florence student Natalia Ramirez interviewed Professor Cristian Vaccari in the lead up to this Friday and Saturday’s Social Media and Political Participation conference.

In your opinion, is social media expanding the range of voices in political discourse, or concentrating it?

To some extent both, especially if compared with the mass media age when the production and gatekeeping of mediated messages was a monopoly in the hands of owners, editors, and journalists. Now more people can express their voice in public space than used to be the case in the past. That being said, there is no question that the Internet and social media are environments where attention is scarce and visibility is highly concentrated, so a very select few social media users will get most people´s attention and the vast majority will get close to zero.

Read the full interview here. Join us this Friday and Saturday for the conference. It will be live streamed here. Rsvp at

Social Media Musings: One Million Book Clubs and Cooking Classes


by Scott Cairns, NYU ’15

People have been meeting in book clubs, fantasy football leagues, and at their children’s soccer games long before the advent of the internet, so to say that social networks did not exist before the digital age would be a lie. It wasn’t, however, until online social networks became a ‘must-have’ that a massive protest movement like the Arab Spring or the worldwide Occupy movement really could become possible. The difference in the size can only be explained by people who previously were not involved in any ‘real world’ (non-digital) social network coming together and mobilizing across the world. It made such a difference in Egypt that a newborn baby in Egypt was christened ‘Facebook’ by his parents.

The difference, in my opinion, is the sheer amount of little social networks that one can belong to on the internet, rather than in person. From personal experience, I can tell you that it is impossible to be in two places at once. No matter how much one enjoys cooking and mystery novels, he or she cannot be at a book club AND a cooking class if they both meet once a week on Friday night. What he or she CAN do, however, is follow favorite authors on Twitter and ‘like’ them on Facebook, effortlessly and simultaneously connecting to others with the same interests. Chain about twenty or more of these little online book clubs and cooking classes together and the numbers begin to add up fast. Social clubs are not exclusive on the internet: you can belong to as many social networks with as many like-minded individuals as you like online, where people are meeting not once a week but 24/7.

Eva Anduiza of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a speaker at this coming Friday’s conference on Social Media and Political Participation touches on this a bit in the abstract of her upcoming paper, ‘Connective Action and European Mass Protest,’ where she talks of the internet’s potential to create ‘individual linkages through the personalization of collective frames.’ Essentially, Twitters and Facebooks are the ultimate personalizers of the social experience. Like a large scale version of online dating, everyone is now simultaneously friends with or followers of people just like them with the same interests, opinions, and dreams for their country or world.

To learn more about our upcoming conference on Social Media and Political Participation, click here.

To join the conference conversation on social media, click here.

To learn more about the latest research at NYU in the field of social media and political participation, click here visit the online lab of NYU Professor and conference organizer Joshua Tucker.

Social Media Musings: Social Media and the Political Realm

SocialMedia3 By Ann Schmidt, NYU ’16

As social media’s presence in society increases and connects people, its effects in the political realm have become a point of interest and importance for political analysts. The potential effects that social media could have, or already have, are extremely interesting and will shape the future of society through connections and communications in ways that weren’t even imaginable just 20 years ago.

One of the most interesting effects of social media in the political realm involves the power that social networking has to get people more politically involved. This issue will be addressed by Eva Anduiza and Alexey Makarin at the conference on May 10th and 11th.

The potential of this power that leaders could have to change and shape society would open many doors because as people find they are more willing to work for a cause they can connect with, the more power the leaders of that cause hold. I see this as being a potential for a globalization of politics like no other in the past. Unity is something that people feel as they use social media and that feeling of unity is something that is, and will continue to be, extremely useful in the political realm.

Social Media Musings: Internet: Gift or Grievance?


By Max Fiedziukiewicz, NYU ’16

How often do you use your computer? An hour a day? Maybe two? Perhaps five? We live in a time that has completely forgotten the stone ages, those barbaric days, when the Internet wasn’t around, and your phone reminded you of an oversized brick. For people in my generation, life without the Internet seems impossible. Sometimes we forget to recognize the kind of sweeping force with which the Internet came and changed the game. Professor Tufekci from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill will come to remind us how the Internet has changed politics and whether that it is a good or bad thing, or both. Interested in the Arab Spring or Occupy Wall-street movements? Then come join us this Saturday at 9am to hear how the Internet has done more then just influenced our social communications.

Social Media Musings: Political Satire


Scott Cairns, NYU ’15

Where I come from, the average under-20-year old on the street finds politics to be a daunting and dreary subject. The highest level of interest comes around election time, when politics becomes synonymous with a boxing match between two candidates and debates produce quotes that dominate the watercooler talk for the next week. However, without knowing it, these same under-20-year-olds follow the political conversation in America all year round when they turn on ‘Comedy Central.’

Political satire is an art form that has been perfected in America. The same person who professes to be bored by politics will bend over backwards in laughter over the stylings of Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, wildly popular satirists with their own shows that air nightly. These men, with thousands of followers and fans, are not without their own political opinions. In fact, they are more than happy to spill their opinions each night on the air, with a comedic spin of course.

These are the ‘power users,’ figures with the ability to influence large groups of people with their Twitter accounts and blogs, that professors Cristian Vaccari and Augosto Valeriani allude to in their upcoming paper: ‘Follow the leader! Dynamics and Patterns of Activity among the Followers of the Main Italian Political Leaders during the 2013 General Election Campaign.’ As expected, the professors find that ‘most of them are celebrities in realms other than politics or people who are already highly visible in the politics-media ecosystem.’ My question for the authors when they come together at the upcoming LPD conference on Social Media and Political Participation is this: how does this quasi-interest in politics that is channeled through political satire translated into actual interest? Do people ever find themselves wanting to learn more, or are they just tuning in to crack a joke in the direction of a Silvio Berlusconi-esque politician?

To learn more about our upcoming conference on Social Media and Political Participation, click here.

To join the conference conversation on social media, click here.

To learn more about the latest research at NYU in the field of social media and political participation, click here visit the online lab of NYU Professor and conference organizer Joshua Tucker.

Social Networks, Peer Pressure, and Protest Participation

SocialMedia3By Morgan Hubbard, NYU ’15

Participant Alexey Makarin from the New Economic School in Moscow will be presenting a paper on Social Networks, Peer Pressure and Protest Participation at the upcoming LPD Social Media and Political Participation Conference.   With an estimated 1.1 billion users on Facebook alone, it is clear that the role of social media has increased dramatically within the last decade.  Social media outlets such as Facebook and others, allow one to be connected with people and news throughout the world twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Thus, social media, as well as social motivation (such as peer pressure via social networks), could possibly be used as a vital tool in protests.  Makarin’s paper specifically investigates, “whether social incentives are similarly important for taking part in political protests.”  Harnessing the power of social media and using social motivation to give protesters an incentive to participate could have an effect on many of the current protest movements in the news today.  So, if you are even the least bit interested in social media come to this conference and learn more about Makarin’s paper as well as many others.  Also, “socially motivate” your friends to come!