Democracy Works

A path forward for social media and democracy

Episode Summary

The U.S. Capitol insurrection broke open a lot of conversations that had long been simmering under the surface about social media and democracy. Michal and Chris discuss this inflection point and our guest, MIT's Sinan Aral, shares ideas for how we might move forward.

Episode Notes

Sinan Aral has spent two decades studying how social media impacts our lives, from how we think about politics to how we find a romantic partner. He argues that we're now at the crossroads of a decade of techno-utopianism followed by a decade of techno-dystopianism. How to reconcile the promise and peril of social media is one of the biggest questions facing democracy today.

Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management, Marketing, IT, and Data Science at MIT; director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy; and head of MIT’s Social Analytics Lab. He is the author of The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health — And How We Must Adapt .

In his book and in this conversation, Aral goes under the hood of the biggest, most powerful social networks to tackle the critical question of just how much social media actually shapes our choices, for better or worse.

Additional Information

The Hype Machine

Sinan Aral on Twitter

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