Culture Digitally scholars writing elsewhere about the election and its ramifications

Over the last two days, we’ve invited Culture Digitally scholars to think hard about the U.S. election, about the scholarship that will need to happen in the next four years, and how to move the field forward in light of new political realities in the U.S. and around the world. You can read their comments here and here. But, in addition, some of our colleagues have been writing cogent pieces elsewhere around the web, and we wanted to simply share some of them in case they hadn’t come across your transom already. Included is just a short excerpt: click through to read them in their entirety.

Tarleton and Hector


danah boyd, “Reality check: I blame the media” (on Medium)

“Every pollster got it wrong. And there’s a reason. They weren’t paying attention to the various structural forces that made their sample flawed, the various reasons why a disgusted nation wasn’t going to contribute useful information to inform a media spectacle. This abuse of data has to stop. We need data to be responsible, not entertainment…”


danah boyd, “Media: end reporting on polls” (on Medium)

“As people feel pushed and swayed, as the horse race goes on and on, they get more and more disenchanted. Rather than galvanizing people to act, reporting on polling over a long period of time with flashy visuals and constantly shifting needles prompts people to disengage from the process. In short, to not show up to vote…”


Pablo Boczkowski, “Has Election 2016 been a turning point for the influence of the news media?” (at NiemanLab)

(note: this was written two days before the election)

“Despite the differences in their strategies and products, all media — including the news and social media — play in the same market competing for the attention of the public. The stark discrepancy in the performances of The New York Times and Facebook is an indicator of the distribution of people’s media attention in contemporary society… It also begins to account for why a stronger presence in social media might have allowed the Trump campaign to counter its overwhelmingly inferior standing among the news media.”


Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, “‘A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.’ Social science and the 2016 elections”

“As powerful as I believe quantitative analysis and survey research can be, I can’t help but feel that part of the problem is that many of us as social scientists have lost track of what politics means for many people… We as social scientists do not have a good, evidence-based understanding of how most people understand and relate to politics and the world around them. And if we don’t have that qualitative understanding, it is very hard to develop quantitative analysis and methods that will capture it. We know a lot about what people do, but very little about what it means for them.”


Jefferson Pooley, “Why we can’t know whether Facebook is to blame for Trump’s election” at Slate

“Missing from the debate is any real evidence one way or another—and will probably won’t get it any time soon. That’s Facebook’s fault. For years now the social-media giant has selectively published self-exculpatory research papers authored by its own employees, while refusing to give independent researchers the data to perform their own analyses… Maybe there’s no big problem with algorithmic echo chambers, and maybe Trump’s rise has nothing to do with the site. That’s the takeaway from the company’s sponsored research. No one else has comparable access to the data, so it’s hard to know. You might even say the system is rigged.”


Zizi Papacharissi, “Trump and Publics of Affect” (on Medium) (Note: written before the election)

“Why does Donald Trump get away with so much bs while others do not? …He speaks to deeply insecure people. They are not deplorable. They are possibly folks who feel they have lost control over what happens in their lives. They are also possibly folks who look for a political messiah to come and instantly fix long standing problems. And so Trump delivers, refrain after refrain, repetitive statements aimed at taking control of ones life, almost like a motivational speaker.”