Join us for a conversation on the role of digital literacy, it's affect on info access and the formation of political opinion

We are excited to welcome Dr. Bianca Reisdorf for a conversation about her upcoming paper titled, Internet Activity, Skills and Political Opinion Formation.

Join us on Thursday, October 19 at 1:30pm for a discussion on digital literacy and political opinion the premise of Dr. Bianca (Bibi) Reisdorf's research and paper.

"Little is known about how different levels of digital engagement and digital literacy affect if and how people find information on politics, and how this affects the way they form their opinions."

The paper addresses the following research question:

What are the most important news sources and how do they influence political opinion formation? What is the relative importance of TV, radio, or printed news sources compared to online news, social media or search in the formation of political opinion for different types of Internet users? For example, do broad and experienced Internet users use more (online) sources than narrow/low users?

Reading group details:
Thursday, October 19
1:30pm to 2:30pm
1 Brattle Square, Suite 470 

Bianca (Bibi) C. Reisdorf is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Information and the Assistant Director of the Quello Center at Michigan State University. Her research interests include digital inequalities and policies, Internet use among vulnerable groups, and cross-national comparative studies that apply both qualitative and quantitative methods. She was Lecturer and Director of Distance Learning in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom before her position at Michigan State University.

(There will be coffee and a light assortment of snacks.)

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Upcoming events

Monday, October 23 Seminar with Chris Riley, Director, Public Policy at Mozilla 

Friday, October 27 Forum event
#Democracy on Fire: Twitter, Social Movements, and the Future of Dissent
Panelists: Marshall Ganz, Wael Ghonim, and Zeynep Tufekci
Moderator: David Eaves, Lecturer in Public Policy

Saturday, October 28 Alumni Digital Summit

FULL ABSTRACT
Much attention has focused on the possible ways that social media or search can influence political opinion formation. Theories of political opinion formation have argued for the importance of socialization, agenda-setting, and two-step flow, to name just three important theories.

The Internet influences these factors, because it becomes a conduit for the flow of information. The most important medium in the US and other countries for many years was television, especially with the rise of 24-hour cable channels. The Internet may have changed that, especially for young people. In addition, little is known about how different levels of digital engagement and digital literacy affect if and how people find information on politics, and how this affects the way they form their opinions.

We use multivariate analyses of a representative sample of more than 2,000 Internet users in the US to examine the consumption of different types of media to finding political information by age group, breadth and frequency of Internet use, internet skills, and political interest.

The paper addresses the following research question:

What are the most important news sources and how do they influence political opinion formation? What is the relative importance of TV, radio, or printed news sources compared to online news, social media or search in the formation of political opinion for different types of Internet users? For example, do broad and experienced Internet users use more (online) sources than narrow/low users?