Disinformation about School Shootings on Twitter: Why Does It Happen? What Kind of Information is Shared? Does it Matter?

All of this has implications for democracy. While disinformation and polemics may stimulate a broader public conversation about social concerns such as gun violence, the relative incivility of these narratives which included polemics and insults are unlikely to increase users’ tolerance to individuals’ championing opposing perspectives—which is an important precursor to consensus-building . Conversely, fact-based narratives, particularly those discussing May’s mental health, could assist in consensus-building regarding health care in America. Even the personal narratives shared by students may help those holding opposing points of view regarding issues such as gun control better understand one another insofar as these stories can help individuals find areas of unanticipated agreement. Disinformation, in short, is bad for political conversation, political debate and deliberative processes.

Color or Culture? Multiracial Women and Interracial Dating

For several decades, researchers (and mainstream media) have been interested in the prevalence of interracial relationships as a way to understand the shifts in social distance between racial groups and the impacts of racism on intimate life, particularly within online dating spaces. The excitement that spills over on social media every year on Loving Day…

Are Gun Owners Cowards?

Many Americans are under the impression that gun owners are overcome by fear. This idea is everywhere, in news articles and editorials, scientific research, social media, blockbuster films, and other forms of popular culture.

From the Classroom: Engaging Statistics Students Who (Think They) Hate Math

Frankly speaking, most students don’t want to take math classes. I’m sure most of my students can recall vowing to never take another math class again after their Algebra 2 finals in high school. Imagine their disappointment when they learned that my Social Statistics course was a requirement needed to earn their undergraduate sociology degree….

3 ways China benefits from the Hong Kong protests

This piece first appeared on The Conversation. The summer of 2019 has seen week after week of protest in Hong Kong. The protests began June 9 when as many as a million people marched against a bill that could allow suspects to be extradited to China. Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, who was appointed by Chinese Premier…

The Facebook Settlement: Is This Justice?

This piece first appeared on the Independent Institute blog. The Federal Trade Commission has agreed to a $5 billion settlement with Facebook as a penalty for the social media giant’s unauthorized sharing of user data with consulting form Cambridge Analytica in 2017. Presumably, the settlement is warranted because of the harm done to users when Facebook shared…

Yesterday, the Beatles, and the Value of Earned Success

This piece first appeared on The Beacon The movie Yesterday is a tribute to the enduring legacy of popular music and its ability to bring joy to the human heart. Indeed, the movie succeeds as entertaining summer diversion. But it succeeds on another level as well by exploring the meaning and the dignity of work.  The movie…

Why are There so Many Candidates for President?

While the number of candidates running for president in 2020 may be unprecedented, a crowded debate stage is unlikely to be a strange sight in the future. The divisions within parties and the availability of money and media coverage outside of the traditional party network mean that potential candidates will continue to see – and take – opportunities where previously they did not.

Misogyny, Politics, and Reddit: How “The Red Pill” Forum Helped Trump Win

In closing, it is important to consider how forums such as this are key in organizing support for extremist candidates across geographic boundaries. We are not suggesting that The Red Pill forum was the group that fully paved the way for Trump’s victory. Rather, we seek to illustrate generic processes of digital recruitment and radicalization in the digital age. In an age of networked politics and increasingly interconnected social movements, enclaves of Alt-Right extremism such as this will serve as rallying points for future candidates, and feminists must be ready to oppose such extremism with great force.

Trump’s Tweets: What Do They Mean for Civil Conversations?

Arguably, Trump will go down in history for his catch phrases and unconventional political use of Twitter. It is not clear, however, whether historians will be kind to him – or us – when they look back at our political discourse. The good news is that we can control how we engage in tough conversations, and that through this process of engagement we will learn more about ourselves.