Extra, extra, reddit all about it: What reddit can teach us about local politics

Adam Lê, Emily M. Farris, Jane L. Sumner, Josephine M. Warmka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although local government is a rich, important arena for understanding politics, local politics presents a few challenges for understanding and participating in it. To better explore comparative urban politics, we turn to reddit, a social media, news, and discussion platform. We ask if city subreddits are places of discussion of local politics and what can we learn about the salience of local topics, and about local politics, from the content of these subreddits. Using visualization and text analysis, we find that city subreddits are indeed forums for political discussion, finding that approximately a quarter of the topics on city subreddits are political in nature. We observe that people discuss matters including, but not limited to, taxation, policing and crime, homelessness, and education. We conclude with areas for future study, including, most prominently, the rise of nationalized local politics, such as minimum wage increases and body cameras, increasingly discussed and organized on the national stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-115
Number of pages29
JournalForum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Keywords

  • Local politics
  • Political issues
  • Social media

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