Time to restart this blog after a long silence, induced by teaching and other duties.
The latest issue of New Media and Society comes packed with a lot of interesting articles. One of them is by Dylko, Beam, Landreville and Geidner, discussing the case of the 2008 presidential election in the US – and its representation on YouTube. In a project not too dissimilar to mine, the authors were interested in finding out how “non-elites” can partake in mainstream discourse about the elections.
The picture is, maybe not surprisingly, mixed. Sourcing and production is dominated by elites: news – as seen on YouTube – are about the elite; and they are produced by the elite. But at the same time, non-elites play the defining role in the distribution (sharing) of content online.
Details of the findings seem to correlate with what my fledgeling project revealed about the election coverage on social news sites: mainstream sources dominate the agenda – yet online platforms do provide non-elites with a realistic chance of changing or at least influencing it.
And the project also seems to tie in nicely with Castells’ observations on how vertical and horizontal networks of communication cooperate. It’s nice to have this kind of hands-on (according to others: dirty) empirical confirmation.
Dylko, Ivan B., Michael A. Beam, Kristen D. Landreville and Nicholas Geidner: Filtering 2008 US presidential election news on YouTube by elites and novelties: An examination of the democratizing potential of the internet. New Media and Society, 2011, 13(8).