Jan 20, 2020 • 38M

Theory of Change #008: Aaron Smith on how Twitter users see politics differently

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Matthew Sheffield
Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? History is filled with stories of people and institutions that spent big and devoted many resources to effect change but have little to show for it. By contrast, many societal developments have happened without forethought from anyone. And of course, change can be negative as well as positive. In each episode of this weekly program, Theory of Change host Matthew Sheffield delves deep with guests to discuss larger trends in politics, religion, media, and technology.
Episode details

Every podcast has its “lost episodes.” Or at least that’s what podcasters tell themselves. But booking, producing, and hosting a podcast all by yourself is a lot of work--and technical issues can make that especially difficult.

I started “Theory of Change” in 2019 but suspended it for about a year and a half due to some problems with my recording and editing setup. In 2021, I brought the show back with a live video setup to help prevent technical problems from blocking episode from being published.

So far, the response has been incredible. We’ve had hundreds of thousands of downloads since the re-launch. Thank you for listening, subscribing, watching, and sharing the podcast. I’m especially grateful to the people who are supporting “Theory of Change” and our new Flux.community website.

This broadcast (released on January 2022) is based on a December 14, 2019 conversation I had with Aaron Smith of the Pew Research Center about a study he and his colleagues released examining the social dynamics of Twitter and how much of the discussion that takes place is dominated by a small number of accounts. The study also found some important differences between people who use Twitter for political news and people who do not. I felt like the study, which is linked in the show notes, is so important and still relevant that I rescued the episode from a crashed laptop and am presenting it today. I hope you’ll agree. And my apologies for the delay. --Matthew Sheffield