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Saturday, September 14 • 4:46pm - 6:30pm
“Rethinking Digital Democracy”

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Kenyans have had tremendous success in changing their representation by international news agencies. In the recent 2013 election cycle, they succeeded in developing and sustaining two trending topics (#kenyadecides and #someonetellcnn) that dominated international news reports and prevailed over reports of sporadic election violence. This study both investigates the discursive tools that participants on social media use to frame emerging news on social media sources and the mechanisms behind their social media successes. I conducted a microanalysis of the commentary following a post on the public Al Jazeera English Facebook that discussed the ICC indictment of their newly elected leader Uhuru Kenyatta. The microanalysis reveals the powerful influence that framing has on the evaluation of local events and the tools with which these frames are indexed in this particular social media context. I also investigated the emerging journalist practices on social media and the ways in which Kenyans were able to catch the attention of journalists and amplify their voice. This study provides a window into the power of social media savvy and the influence of journalist methods of social media sensemaking within the networked news cycle. Through this window we can better understand the successes and failures of many networks within our global digital democracy.

avatar for Casey Tesfaye

Casey Tesfaye

Technical Research Analyst, American Institute of Physics

Saturday September 14, 2013 4:46pm - 6:30pm EDT
Rowe Atrium

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