Guest in our series "Leibniz Media Lunches": Dr. Anna Sophie Kümpel, research associate at the Institute for Communication Science and Media Research of the LMU Munich. In her research, she deals with diverse forms of public communication in social online media and specifically with the distribution, perception, use and impact of information and news offerings.
Social network sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Twitter have become a central interface for the reception and use of news. However, there is hardly any active demand or search for news there - rather, the majority of SNS users* state that they come across news in passing (incidental news exposure) because friends* share articles or news providers promote selected posts by means of advertisements. This casual news contact is often conceived as a 'happy coincidence' and seen as an opportunity to motivate even uninterested users* to engage with publicly relevant topics.
In the course of the lecture, this optimistic assumption will be questioned and current research findings will be used to show that contact with news on SNS as well as further examination of "accidentally" discovered news reproduces or even intensifies existing inequalities. For example, a classic Matthew effect can be observed for the use of SNS news, which primarily benefits those users* who are already interested in news.
More information about Anna Sophie Kümpel at http://anna-kuempel.de.