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Workshop on cross-platform research in political communication

News from Jul 07, 2022

On Tuesday, June 28, Annett Heft (Freie Universität Berlin) and Christian Baden (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) hosted the workshop "Advancing cross-platform research in political social media communication" as part of the networking and exchange activities of the research group “Digitalization and the Transnational public sphere” at the Weizenbaum Institute. The workshop brought together participants from Berlin universities as well as renowned international institutions such as the Oxford Internet Institute, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The goal of the workshop was to create opportunities for exchange for researchers in digital communication research. Therefore, the focus of the workshop was to discuss open conceptual and methodological questions from past, ongoing, and future research projects of the participants.

A first panel initially focused on the design of comparative and cross-platform social media analyses. Here, Christian Baden first discussed potential problems in research design when the platforms under study have unequal affordances, conventions, and practices. In further presentations, challenges in capturing dynamic online interactions as well as conceptualizations of platform affordances and platform features were discussed.

A second and third panel focused on methodological challenges, such as handling polysemy when conducting manual content analyses. Another talk by Wouter van Atteveldt (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) discussed the possibility of transfer learning for automated content analysis, amongst others. Philipp Kessling, a member of the Leibniz Institute for Media Research, spoke on cross-platform identification, monitoring, and modeling of disinformation. Annett Heft and her colleagues from the neovex research project based at Freie Universität concluded by discussing the collection of conspiracy-related online content. The sessions provided an opportunity for constructive and innovative discussion sessions and thus fostered an open, diverse, and international exchange of ideas and knowledge in the field of cross-platform social media research.

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