Breaking the Social Media Prism: A Talk by Professor Chris Bail, Duke University

Digital Studio and Faculty of Arts proudly presents, Breaking the Social Media Prism: A talk and introduction to his new book by Chris Bail, Professor at Duke University

Date and time

Melbourne/Sydney: Wednesday 29 September 2021, 10.00am
USA (EDT): Tuesday 28 September 2021, 8.00pm

Register here for the zoom webinar

Description

In this hour-long lecture hosted by the Digital Studio, Professor Bail will talk to us about his latest book, Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make our Platforms Less Polarizing and his work at the Polarization Lab.

In an era of increasing social isolation, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are among the most important tools we have to understand each other. We use social media as a mirror to decipher our place in society but, as Chris Bail explains, it functions more like a prism that distorts our identities, empowers status-seeking extremists, and renders moderates all but invisible. Breaking the Social Media Prism challenges common myths about echo chambers, foreign misinformation campaigns, and radicalizing algorithms, revealing that the solution to political tribalism lies deep inside ourselves.

Drawing on innovative online experiments and in-depth interviews with social media users from across the political spectrum, this book explains why stepping outside of our echo chambers can make us more polarized, not less. Bail takes you inside the minds of online extremists through vivid narratives that trace their lives on the platforms and off—detailing how they dominate public discourse at the expense of the moderate majority. Wherever you stand on the spectrum of user behavior and political opinion, he offers fresh solutions to counter political tribalism from the bottom up and the top down. He introduces new apps and bots to help readers avoid misperceptions and engage in better conversations with the other side. Finally, this book explores what the virtual public square might look like if we could hit “reset” and redesign social media from scratch through a first-of-its-kind experiment on a new social media platform built for scientific research.

Chris Bail is Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Duke University, where he directs the Polarization Lab. A Guggenheim and Carnegie Fellow, he studies political extremism on social media using tools from the emerging field of computational social science. He is the author of Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make our Platforms Less Polarizing.