Power, the Policy Sciences, and Social Media
624 East Third Street
Thursday, Nov. 4
a talk by Dean Matthew R. Auer
Twitter, Facebook, and other social media are touted as the electronic communication portals of the masses – open and accessible to billions, and the means for shaping and sharing values on matters of vital public interest. On the surface, the disparate and shapeless population of “i-reporters,” policy “tweeters,” and other on-line “influencers” would appear to challenge the comparatively well-defined cast of professional diplomats, journalists, and propagandists that Harold D. Lasswell (founder of the policy sciences) identified as policy-oriented communicators.
However, to illuminate the roles and impacts of social media in politics and policymaking, insights from Lasswell’s “science of communication” must be embedded in the master’s broader lessons on value assets and outcomes. Assumptions about the democratizing functions and practical efficacies of social media in public affairs can be tested using classic concepts from the policy sciences.