Social media provide individuals abundant opportunities to encounter and engage with news and political information. Some users take advantage of these platforms to interact with political content by redistributing or sharing it with others in their online social networks. Understanding this form of engagement may be especially important given the potential for highly active users to amplify and recontextualize political messages and, ultimately, influence their social connections. In this presentation, Brian Weeks will discuss my research showing some of the mechanisms underlying political information sharing in social media, as well as the processes through which online political engagement may contribute to social influence.
Weeks will demonstrate how different patterns of information exposure online—including both incidental and selective exposure—contribute to political information sharing in social media. Finally, Weeks will apply models of opinion leadership to the online context to show how highly engaged social media users to exert influence through attempts to persuade others politically.
Brian Weeks is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and a Faculty Associate in the Center for Political Studies. His primary research areas include political misinformation and misperceptions, news sharing on social media, and online political expression. Brian received his Ph.D. in Communication from Ohio State University and was a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna.