Research Seminar - Digital Society Network

Professor Ben O'Loughlin - "Engaging to Influence: Why People Dual Screen Leaders Debates"

Professor Ben O'Loughlin (Royal Holloway, University of London) will present to the Digital Society Network and the Department of Politics. All welcome!

Photo: Research workshop

Details -
Date: Wednesday 20th April 2016
Location: Room G18, Elmfield Building
Time: 4:00-6:00PM

Abstract -

Dual screening—the complex bundle of practices that involve integrating live broadcast media and social media—is now routine for many citizens during important political media events. But do these practices shape political engagement, and if so, why? And if dual screening does shape engagement, can parties and their supporters harness this? We devised a unique research design combining a large-scale Twitter dataset and a custom-built panel survey focusing on the broadcast party leaders’ debates held during the 2014 European Parliament elections in the United Kingdom. We find that relatively active, “lean-forward” practices, such as commenting live on social media as the debate unfolded, and engaging with conversations via Twitter hashtags, have the strongest and most consistent positive associations with political engagement. Running a second iteration of this methodology during the 2015 British General Election, we identify how some users have come to approach dual screening strategically as one more opportunity to achieve influence before, during and after a political media event.

Ben O'Loughlin is Professor of International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is Co-Director of the New Political Communication Unit, which was launched in 2007 by Professor Andrew Chadwick. Before joining Royal Holloway in September 2006 he was a researcher on the ESRC New Security Challenges Programme. He completed a DPhil in Politics at New College, Oxford in October 2005 under the supervision of the political theorist Elizabeth Frazer and journalist Godfrey Hodgson. Ben's expertise is in the field of international political communication. He is Specialist Adviser to the UK House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and UK Influence. The committee aims to understand how power and influence are changing in a transformed global media and geopolitical landscape and how the UK can most effectively exercise power within that landscape. It will publish its report in March 2014. Ben's latest book is Strategic Narratives: Communication Power and the New World Order (November 2013). The concept strategic narrative has been developed by Ben with colleagues Alister Miskimmon at Royal Holloway, Andreas Antoniades (Sussex) and Laura Roselle at Elon University. Strategic narratives refer to how states tell stories about international affairs in order to influence the behaviour of other states and non-state actors. This research has been supported by the International Studies Association (ISA) and the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC).

The Digital Society Network draws together an interdisciplinary team of researchers engaged with research at the cutting-edge of society-technology interactions.

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