A special report on technology and politics in The Economist examines questions of democracy, data, politics, and social media referencing the findings reported in Political Turbulence:

A new book entitled “Political Turbulence” come[s] to an intriguing conclusion: social media are making democracies more “pluralistic”, but not in the conventional sense of the word, involving diverse but stable groups. Instead, the authors see the emergence of a “chaotic pluralism”, in which mobilisations spring from the bottom up, often reacting to events. Online mobilisation can develop explosively and seemingly at random. …
Politics in the age of social media, the authors conclude, is better described by chaos theory than by conventional social science: “Tiny acts of political participation that take place via social media are the units of analysis, the equivalent of particles and atoms in a natural system, manifesting themselves in political turbulence.” One day, say the authors, it [might] be possible to predict and trigger such surges, in the same way that meteorologists have become good at forecasting the weather. …Read more (paywall).


Note: This post was originally published on the Political Turbulence book blog on . It might have been updated since then in its original location. The post gives the views of the author(s), and not necessarily the position of the Oxford Internet Institute.