SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS AMID THE ELECTION EVERYDAY: DIGITAL BOUNDARIES AND DISRUPTION DURING THE 2020 U.S. ELECTION
Keywords:elections, everyday politics, interviews, social media feeds, symbolic boundaries
AbstractOngoing political events can reshape the topography of our social media feeds and platformed experiences, destabilizing everyday routines of digital media consumption. The 2020 U.S. presidential election extended this disruption far longer than typical U.S. elections due to extended mail-in ballot counting and political unrest. Within this distinctive political milestone, I study how “ordinary” citizens consume, witness, and feel through social media during an ongoing election. My research centers on social media feeds as sites of political media exposure, examining election media experiences as well as the practices participants use to navigate their feeds as ever-shifting, ephemeral digital environments. I move away from top-down approaches to studying the social media feed by using a “small data,” observational interviewing technique that I term feed analysis interviewing to conduct three interviews each with 21 participants over the course of the election. Ultimately, my preliminary results suggest that participants understand their feeds as spaces of contestation between election affect and their “everyday,” “real,” and “normal” media lives. They use a series of sociotechnical practices to navigate and enforce these imagined boundaries, going beyond political avoidance to differentiate realms of political experience. While introducing a new methodological approach to study political communication and the social media feed, this research also challenges scholars to consider how “ordinary” citizens define and negotiate junctures of politics and everyday life in digital spaces.
How to Cite
Butkowski, C. P. (2023). SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS AMID THE ELECTION EVERYDAY: DIGITAL BOUNDARIES AND DISRUPTION DURING THE 2020 U.S. ELECTION. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.12982