In a new podcast by the Mccourtney Institute for Democracy, key experts revisit conversations around social media and democracy that had been simmering under the surface for quite some time and broke out with the Capitol insurrection of January 6, 2021. Here’s a summary
The U.S. Capitol insurrection broke open a lot of conversations that had long been simmering under the surface about social media and democracy. Michal and Chris discuss this inflection point and our guest, Sinan Aral, shares ideas for how we might move forward.
Sinan Aral has spent two decades studying how social media impacts our lives, from how we think about politics to how we find a romantic partner. He argues that we’re now at the crossroads of a decade of techno-utopianism followed by a decade of techno-dystopianism. How to reconcile the promise and peril of social media is one of the biggest questions facing democracy today.
Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management, Marketing, IT, and Data Science at MIT; director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy; and head of MIT’s Social Analytics Lab. He is the author of The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health — And How We Mst an active entrepreneur and venture capitalist who served as chief scientist at several startups and co-founded the VC fund Manifest Capital.
Drawing on two decades of his own research and business experience, Aral goes under the hood of the biggest, most powerful social networks to tackle the critical question of just how much social media actually shapes our choices, for better or worse.
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