Not only is Owen conducting unique research during this election on Canadian’s online media consumption, he’s also working closely with our podcast team to share those insights as he uncovers them.
Our group is involved in the podcast (which has a number of other excellent journalists and researchers contributing to the content, including former CBC journalists) because we all feel that, at some level, we need to shine a light on these little-understood forces and try to arm citizens with some tools to help navigate them.
Our broadcast airwaves are heavily regulated public spaces, says Owen, but not our social media platforms. “We've allowed them to be fully privatized. And until we bring some transparency to that and understand the effect that is having, I think we're a long way from developing the right policies to say we have integrity in our public space.”
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Canadians will have to decide in this election, and in those to come, whether that’s an issue that really concerns them, or not. The goal of our show is to point out the forces, both individual and systemic, that are changing the nature of our national conversation. And it starts with basic media literacy. One tip Taylor shared with Kevin in the podcast might be obvious to experts, but certainly wasn’t to me.
Here’s their exchange:
Taylor: “Trending on Twitter is not in and of itself a meaningful election activity. There's a lot of gaming going on here where groups are trying to flood the zone with content in order to get the attention of journalists. So we need to be really careful about what messages we amplify, and not make more of a deal of these flurries of activity than they actually are. It's only really when they're changing people's minds that they're important.”
Kevin: “So I think you're telling me they’re not really trying to game the voter. They're trying to game people like you and me.”