Social media platforms are the latest manifestation in a series of sociotechnical innovations designed to enhance civic engagement, political participation, and global activism. While many researchers started out as optimists about the promise of social media for broadening participation and enhancing civic engagement, recent events have tempered that optimism. As this book goes to press, Facebook is fighting a battle over the massive disclosure of user information during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, social analytics company Cambridge Analytica is being revealed as a major player in micro profiling voters in that same election, bots and fake news factories are undermining democratic discourse via social media worldwide, and the president of the United States is unnerving the world as a stream-of-consciousness Twitter user.
This book is a foundational review of current research on social media and civic engagement organized in terms of history, theory, practice, and challenges. History reviews how researchers and developers have continuously pushed the envelope to explore technology enhancements for political and social discourse. Theory reveals that the use of globally-networked social technologies touches many fields including political science, sociology, psychology, media studies, network science, and more. Practice is examined through studies of political engagement both in democratic situations and in confrontational situations. Challenges are identified in order to find ways forward.
For better or worse, social media for civic engagement has come of age. Citizens, politicians, and activists are utilizing social media in innovative ways, while bad actors are discovering possibilities for spreading dissension and undermining trust. We are at a sobering inflection point, and this book is your foundation for understanding how we got here and where we are going.
Scott Robertson is a professor in the Information and Computer Sciences Department at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, where he currently serves as Department Chair. His academic background is thoroughly interdisciplinary, with an undergraduate degree in Social Science, a Master's degree in Cognitive Psychology, and a Ph.D. from a formative Cognitive Science program that combined psychology and AI. His early work was in the area of natural language processing, but he took a turn toward HCI after spending some time at IBM Watson Research Center. He has served as co-chair of the ACM Human Factors in Computing (CHI) conference (1995), the Digital Government Society conference (2014), and the EPIC Ethnographers in Industry conference (2018). His most recent research has been in the area of information and communications technologies as they influence civic engagement, focusing especially on social media and deliberation.
John M. Carroll is Distinguished Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University, and was a founder of human-computer interaction.
He served on the program committee of the 1982 Bureau of Standards Conference on the Human Factors of Computing Systems that in effect inaugurated the field and was the direct predecessor of the field's flagship conference series, the ACM CHI Conferences. Through the past two decades, Carroll has been a leader in the development of the field of Human-Computer Interaction. In 1984 he founded the User Interface Institute at the IBM Thomas J.Watson Research Center, the most influential corporate research laboratory during the latter 1980s. In the 1994, he joined Virginia Tech as Department Head of Computer Science where in 1995 he led the effort to form the university's Center for Human-Computer Interaction. That year, Virginia Tech was invited to join the Human-Computer Interaction Consortium, a group of the leading corporate and academic HCI research organizations in the world.
He has written more than 250 technical papers, more than 25 conference plenary addresses, and 13 books, including HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks, and Usability Engineering (with Mary Beth Rosson). He serves on 10 editorial boards for journals and handbooks, and is the current editor-in-chief of ACM Transactions on Computer- Human Interaction (ToCHI). He has won the Rigo Career Achievement Award from ACM (SIGDOC), received the Silver Core Award from IFIP, and is a member of the CHI Academy. In 2003 he became the fifth recipient of the CHI Lifetime Achievement Award, the most prestigious research award in HCI.