(Posted on behalf of Philip Johnson)
Seminar: Scott Robertson, Ravi Vatrapu, and Richard Medina, "Off the Wall Political Discourse: Facebook Use in the 2008 Presidential Election"
Political candidates and voters have increased their use of the internet for political campaigns. Candidates have adopted many internet tools, including social networking websites, for the purposes of communicating with constituents and voters, collecting donations, fostering community, and organizing events. On the other side, voters have adopted internet tools such as blogs and social networking tools to engage in political dialog, pursue activist causes, and share information. We have examined two years of posts on the Facebook walls of the three major contenders for the U.S. Presidency in 2008: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. Our analysis is primarily quantitative, showing distinct patterns of usage along dimensions of breadth and frequency.
We show a strong integration of the Web 2.0 and new media technologies of social networking, online video, and blogs. Outside of video content, users tended to direct others to groups and applications within the Facebook community, but this homophilous behavior was more common for infrequent posters. Ten internet domains accounted for 90% of all links, and the top ten contained a mixture of news, candidate, and blog sites.
We propose a two-dimensional social networking space in which different types of posters might be located. We offer a discussion of the Facebook candidate walls as a public sphere for political discourse and introduce some design concepts for visualizing and navigating the walls.
The presentation will be in POST 127 on Thursday February 12th at 4:30 pm. You may also connect via Halawai (open from 4-6pm) if you inform Dan Suthers (firstname.lastname@example.org) several days in advance of your UH user name, or try connecting as a "guest" on the day of the event.