The 2016 presidential election has been historic for the ways that social media has been used to drive the news agenda and rally supporters to the cause. Jennifer Stromer-Galley describes the large scale collection and machine learning techniques she and her team have used for the Illuminating 2016 project to study the ways the presidential candidates and the public have used social media. She provides some of the major trends they’ve seen this election cycle and talk about why this matters for journalism and for social media practitioners more broadly.
Stromer-Galley is a professor in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and Director for the Center for Computational and Data Sciences, and she is President of the Association of Internet Researchers. She has been studying “social media” since before it was called social media, studying online interaction and influence in a variety of contexts, including political forums and online games. Her award-winning book Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age provides a history of presidential campaigns as they have adopted and adapted to digital communication technologies.