ARCHITECTURE FOR UNDERSTANDING THE AUTOMATED IMAGINARY: A WORKING QUALITATIVE METHODOLOGY FOR RESEARCH ON POLITICAL BOTS

Norah Abokhodair, Samuel Woolley, Philip Howard, David McDonald

Abstract


Social media – especially social networking sites – have substantially transformed the  ways in which people discuss current affairs and obtain political news and information.  Because of increased affordances for building and maintaining social connections,  young people are better able to cultivate a political identity and engage civically in both  authoritarian and democratic regimes [1]. Activist causes and democratic movements  have been born, organized and disseminated on sites including Facebook, Twitter,  Weibo, and YouTube [2]. Like any technology, though, the interfaces, applications, and  modes of communication on social networking sites are in constant negotiation,  transformation, and repurposing – and by a wide variety of social and political actors.


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