April 6: The Work of Politics in the Age of Digital Amplification

–submitted by Rich Leffler

Maier-Bascom Professor Dhavan Shah, Director of the Mass Communication Research Center at the UW-Madison proposed that modern digital and social media make it harder to compromise in politics. Our politics were developed in a different time, and modern technology actually degrades political debate. It is harming the ability to engage in reasoned deliberation. For instance, his research indicates that audiences react to dynamic style rather than substance. We live in “an attention economy.” Negativity gets the attention on social media. The angry and the bombastic get the online attention and this, in turn, is picked up by the larger media, amplifying it.

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvUPsGT-Guw

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