CAPs Professor & Department Chair
Department of Communication Arts
Professor Xenos’ research and teaching interests are centered on the effects of new media on political engagement and public deliberation. His primary focus is on the extent to which the internet and social media may help individuals learn about political issues, form opinions, and participate in politics. He is also interested in the ways that political candidates, journalists, and other political actors adapt to changes in information and communication technologies, and how these adaptations affect broader dynamics of political communication and public deliberation.
- Social media and political engagement: The unique contribution of Facebook to our contemporary communication environment
- Digital Media, Education and Political Engagement
Recent developments suggest a strong relationship between social media use and political engagement and raise questions about the potential for social media to help stem or even reverse patterns of political inequality that have troubled scholars for years. In this presentation I articulate a model of social media and political engagement among young people, and present research related to this model based on data from representative samples of young people in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. These data, including cross-sectional surveys, as well as in-person and online focus groups with young people in each of the three project countries, were gathered as part of a recent project I worked with collaborators from Australia and the UK and the generous support of the Spencer Foundation. Our results suggest a strong, positive relationship between social media use and political engagement among young people across all three countries, and provide additional insights regarding the role played by social media use in the processes by which young people become politically engaged. The talk also includes discussion of additional research related to how new media forms (e.g. political satire and the erosion of boundaries between news and entertainment content) may further contribute to these dynamics, and a discussion of future research questions raised by this work.
Approximate Length of Talk: 20 to 45 minutes