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In the past few years, the way that citizens communicate with one other about politics has been fundamentally altered by the emergence of social media, or what is popularly known as “Web 2.0”. These are a set of electronic tools that utilize the internet to allow information to be communicated not just to citizens from elites, but also from citizens back to elites, as well as – perhaps most importantly – among citizens while (potentially) bypassing elites entirely. In view of recent political developments as diverse as Occupy Wall Street in the United States, the rise of Indignados in Spain, protests in Moscow and Tehran, and the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, it has become increasingly clear that social media are now intertwined with political activity. And yet, despite the proclivities of journalists to throw around monikers like the “Twitter Revolution” (applied to political upheaval in Moldova), we know surprisingly little about exactly how social media affects political participation.  

We are only beginning to scratch the surface of developing theories linking social media usage to political participation and actually beginning to test causal relationships. At the same time, the data being generated by users of social media represents a completely unprecedented source of data recording how hundreds of millions of people around the globe interact with politics, the likes of which social scientists have never, ever seen; it is not too much of a stretch to say we are at a similar place to the field of biology just as the human genome was first being decoded. Thus the challenges are enormous, but the opportunities – and importance of the task – are just as important. With this in mind, we will gather a variety of international scholars working on different aspects of this topic together at NYU-Florence’s Villa La Pietra campus for one and half day conference on the subject of social media and political participation. The conference will serve to introduce cutting edge work being conducted in a field that barely existed five years ago to the public and students, to introduce the scholars participating in the conference to each other’s work, and also to play a role in building connections among the scholarly community working in this field.

 
 
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Program
 

Friday May 10
NYU Florence. Villa La Pietra ( Villa Sassetti)

9:00-9:15 a.m. - Welcome Remarks
Megan Metters
, LPD Coordinator, New York University Florence
Introduction, Joshua Tucker, New York University

9:15-10:15 Cognitive Democracy and the Internet
Presenter: Henry Farrell, George Washington University
Discussant:  Davide Morisi, European University Institute
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentation 

10:15-11:15 Politics 2.0: The Multifaceted Effect of Broadband Internet on Political Participation
Presenter: Francesco Sobbrio, European University Institute
Discussant: Marta Fraile Maldonado, European University Institute
Presentation
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentaton here 

11:15-11:30 Coffee break

11:30-1:15 Using Social Media to Estimate Partisanship
Birds of the Same Feather Tweet Together: Bayesian Ideal Point Estimation Using Twitter Data
Presenter: Pablo Barbera, New York University
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentaton here 


Politicians Go Social. Estimating Intra-Party Heterogeneity (and its Effects) through the Analysis of Social Media
Presenter: Andrea Ceron, University of Milan
Discussants: Ken Benoit, London School of Economics; Jonathan Bright, European University Institute
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentaton here 

1:15- 2:15 p.m. Lunch

2:15-3:15 Connective Action in European Mass Protest
Presenter: Eva Anduiza, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Discussant: Chris Dawes, New York University
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentation here - Eva Anduiza
Discussant´s Slides from Conference Presentation- Chris Dawes 


3:15-4:15 The Bridges and Brokers of Global Campaigns in the Context of Social Media
Presenter: Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
Discussant: Lorenzo de Sio, LUISS University
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentaton here 

4:15-4:30 Coffee break

READ MORE ( by clicking the arrow below)

4:30-5:30 Every Tweet Counts? How Sentiment Analysis of Social Media Can Improve our Knowledge of Citizens’ Policy Preferences: An Application to Italy and France
Presenter: Stefano Iacus, University of Milan
Discussant: Rich Bonneau, New York University
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentaton here 

5:30-6:30 The Rise and Decline of the “Occupy Wall Street” Movement from a Digital Perspective
Presenter: Alessandro Flammini, University of Indiana
Discussant: Sergey Chernov, New Economic School, Moscow
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentaton here 


Saturday May 11 


9:30-10:30 a.m. Is the Internet Good or Bad for Politics? Yes. Let’s talk about How and Why
Presenter: Zeynep Tufekci, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Discussant: Mario Chacon, NYU Abu Dhabi
Slides from Conference Presentaton here 
 


10:30-11:30 Follow the leader! Dynamics and Patterns of Activity among the Followers of the Main Italian Political Leaders during the 2013 General Election Campaign
Presenter: Cristian Vaccari, New York University and University of Bologna
Discussant: Aldo Paparo, Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentaton here 

11:30-11:45 Coffee break

11:45-1:30 p.m. Social Media and Protest in Russia
Social Networks, Peer Pressure and Protest Participation
Presenter: Alexey Makarin, New Economic School, Moscow

Mobilizing Online Data to Understand Offline Mobilization: Two Attempts at Online Observational Research in Russia
Presenter: Sam Greene, King’s College London
Discussants: Pedro Riera, European University Institute; Ilke Toygur, European University Institute
Paper and Slides from Conference Presentaton here 

1:30-2:30 Lunch

Please click here to download paper abstracts.

 
 
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Partners and sponsors
 
Center for New Media and Society of the New Economic School of Moscow
The NYU Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) laboratory
Global Research Initiatives, Office of the Provost
 
 
 
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