Comment/like/Retweet: Public Discussions of Economic Crisis News Information through Social Media and the Mobile Internet

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Jeremy MATTHEW , Culture Media and Creative Industries, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
The rapid popularisation of social media services, and the even more current popularisation of mobile internet devices raises important questions about the everyday use of new media technologies. In large and rapidly increasing numbers, everyday individuals use these new media technologies to access, discuss, share, and engage with current topics on the difficult state of our world, such as austerity, economic crisis, and financial policies that impact everyday inequalities. It is important to explore the everyday use of these new media technologies in order to learn more about how the public is engaging with challenging news topics through recent developments in new media.

Do users really engage with these devices and online interactions in a fleeting and less engaged manner, or does the ubiquity of the mobile internet afford greater engagement with news information? Does the algorithmic filtering of online information by new media organisations in control of social media services lead to greater agenda setting by the individual users of news, or does it reinforce established news media organisations as the primary or authoritative sources of news? And how may the various affordances of differing and fragmented web and mobile apps impact the discourses of everyday users?

This paper aims to explore such questions through initial findings from research using qualitative observations of online social media discussions on austerity, economic crisis, and financial news, in combination with interviews of participants who regularly engage with such information through social media sites and mobile internet devices. The paper aims to explore how current and recently popularised trends in the use of new media technologies may be affording or constraining behaviours and habits of everyday users when engaging with online news and information on issues that impact social inequalities like austerity and economic crisis.