From Code to Discourse: Social Media and Linkage Mechanisms in Deliberative Systems
Benjamin A. Lyons
Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania, US
About Benjamin A.
Benjamin Lyons is the Martin Fishbein Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. He is also an associate of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra.
Scholars have increasingly examined less formal conceptions of public deliberation, coinciding with a shift to the deliberative systems approach. However, few have grappled with how, or how well, discussions in distributed spaces connect to one another. Those who have theorized about such “linkage” have done so in an unsatisfactorily broad manner (Parkisnon, 2016). This article addresses this gap in the context of social media by reviewing the literature on platforms’ technical features and emergent discursive forms, and considering the capacity for these to link flows of deliberation as they evolve online and approach empowered spaces. Avenues for future research are discussed.