Exposure to Political Diversity Online

25 January 2013, 12:50-2:05p,
Gates B01, Stanford

The Internet gives individuals more choice in political news and information sources and more tools to filter out disagreeable information. Citing the preference described by selective exposure theory - that people prefer information that supports their beliefs and avoid counter-attitudinal information - observers warn that people may use these tools to access and create ideological echo chambers, increasing the polarization of different political groups and decreasing society's ability to solve problems.

In this talk, I present research on political information exposure in two types of online spaces. First, I describe individuals' preferences for the range of political opinions that news aggregators present, ways to measure the diversity of exposure in those spaces, and selection and presentation techniques for increasing the diversity of exposure. Second, I discuss non-political spaces, where preferences other than politics shape people's behavior, but where people may still serendipitously encounter political information.

Resources: Refs · Slides (40MB pdf) · Balancer Extension

Publications from talk
Contact
smunson at uw dot edu
423B Sieg Hall
Campus Box 352315

Seattle, WA 98195
Collaborators
  • Paul Resnick
  • Daniel Xiaodan Zhou
  • Jeremy Canfield
  • Erica Willar
  • Emily Rosengren
  • Cat Hong Le
  • Brian Ford
  • Peter Andrews
  • Sidharth Chhabra
  • Stephanie Lee
Funding
  • NSF award #IIS-0916099
  • Yahoo! Key Technical Challenges grant
  • Intel PhD Fellowship
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Health & Wellness (Swellness)
I am building and deploying a series of applications designed to support various aspects of wellness. This work identifies ways to build applications that effectively support health behavior change and will also contribute to our understanding of theories about influenc and their interactions with indvidual differences and preferences. Published work includes a study of how people use Facebook and Online Health Communities to support health goals (CSCW 2011), a study of a social version of a positive psychology exercise (Persuasive 2010), and ways to support goal setting and self monitoring on mobile applications (Pervasive Health 2012).
SI Display

Public displays to nurture community.
Design, long-term deployment, and evaluation of two public displays at the School of Information. CSCW paper and open source software.