Politicians and Social Media in the Global South Event Program

Politicians and Social Media in the Global South

Saturday, April 14th, 2018
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
North Quad, Space 2435
105 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

In the last decade, politicians in various parts of the world have invested in social media campaigns, including in settings where a relatively small proportion of the voting public is actually online. Leaders may use social media for a range of reasons including to actively court constituents, to present a narrative on their political program to the international community, or to use the affordances of social media to frame the agenda on a specific issue.

Social media can also present a means for politicians to bypass the free professional media corps to directly speak to the electorate, and exercise greater control over the story crafted about them. After an early phase of enthusiasm on the scope of social media to bring decentralized power to the people, we increasingly have a balanced view of the potential and risks of online behaviour for democratic societies.

Today, we see a social media environment in which a vast majority of major national politicians in countries throughout the world build social media presences for a diverse mix of these reasons. What do these developments mean for the future of political campaigning? What tactics have worked? How is the online strategy impacted by ideology, national economic priorities, or political structure?

The U-M School of Information is proud to present a one-day seminar to examine contemporary scholarship on political social media in the Global South.

Workshop Program

9:00AMIntroduction, Key issues in Political Social Media Studies in the Global South

9:15AM—Keynote Speaker

Merlyna Lim, Carleton University

10:30AM—Session 1: Politicians Performing Online
Chair: Omolade Adunbi, University of Michigan

Digital Campaign? The use of Twitter in Presidential campaign in Kenya’s 2017 Elections
Job Mwaura, University of the Witswatersrand

Running online vs fighting at the polls: The conundrums of Nigerian social media campaigns
Dayo Aiyetan, International Center for Investigative Reporting, Udit Thawani,
University of Michigan

Whom do politicians follow on Twitter?
Samarth Bansal, Hindustan Times
Anustubh Agnihotri, The University of California at Berkeley
Rahul Verma, The University of California at Berkeley


1:15PM—Session 2: Stakeholders and Agenda Setting
Chair: Ceren Budak, University of Michigan

Populism and right-wing movements in the Global South: the digital strategy of Movimento Brasil Livre
Danniel Gobbi, University of Brasilia

On-The-Ground with Political Activists: Accounts from Syria, Tunisia and Palestine
Krüger, Maximilian, University of Siegen

Social Media in Bangladeshi Politics: The Ugly, The Zombies, & The Jedi Knights
Faheem Hussain, Stony Brook University

Text Mining Methods for Political Social Media Studies
Sunandan Chakraborty, Indiana University


3:30PM—Panel: The Mechanics of Social Media Outreach
Moderator: Ram Mahalingam, University of Michigan

Facebook and Elections
Katie Harbath, Facebook

Political Campaign Management in India
Ankit Lal, Aam Aadmi Party, India

Computational Approaches to Studying Public Officials on Social Media
Libby Hemphill, University of Michigan

5:00PM—Open Discussion on Building an Interdisciplinary Community on Political
Social Media

Joyojeet Pal, School of Information, University of Michigan
Ceren Budak, School of Information, University of Michigan
Ram Mahalingam, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
Daniel Romero, School of Information, University of Michigan
Administration Lead Planner: Kayla Carucci, University of Michigan

Sponsored by
The University of Michigan International Institute Enterprise Fund
The University of Michigan School of Information
The University of Michigan Department of Communications
The University of Michigan Center for South Asian Studies
The University of Michigan African Studies Center
The University of Michigan Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies