By Natalia Ramirez, NYU ´14
Joshua Tucker received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1993, a Masters in International Studies from University of Birmingham in 1994, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2000. Professor Tucker has lent his talents to topics ranging from partisanship, protest participation, and voting and elections, with a concentration on post-communist, East-Central European countries and the former Soviet Union. His new project involves an interdisciplinary collection of political scientists, sociologists, computer scientists and biologists who are uncovering the complex relationship between social media and political participation. The NYU Social Media and Political Participation laboratory (SMaPP Lab) is a driving force behind the May 10th-11th 2013 La Pietra Dialogue. For more information visit SMaPP.nyu.edu and http://www.lapietradialogues.org/
What does "Dialogue" mean to you?
The opportunity to share ideas.
As a Professor of Politics, why do you think you find yourself dealing with questions of social media?
Given that I study how individual citizens approach political questions, it seems impossible to imagine that today - as opposed to even a few years ago - that social media are not playing any role in how people think and act in terms of politics. Thus if you want to understand political behavior, you have to have at least some idea of the role played by social media.
It is also a tremendously exciting time in terms of the data provided by social media. For the first time in recorded history, we have hundreds of millions of people talking about what they are doing and thinking on a daily (if not hourly!) basis and recording this digitally in a way that we can analyze it. Many of these "posts" are not about politics, but many of them are. Figuring out how to use this information to study politics is enormously challenging, but also an unparalleled opportunity.
How can undergraduates be more involved in this type of social media research?
We will be hiring a team of undergraduate Research Assistants to work with the SMaPP lab starting in the fall semester. If you are an NYU undergraduate and interested in being part of this team, please send me an email with "SMaPP Undergrad RA" in the subject heading. Also, I will be teaching an undergraduate NYU-AD J-Term course in New York City next January entitled Social Media and Political Participation, which will also involve working on projects with the SMaPP lab. So lots of ways for interested NYU undergraduates to get involved with the research!