Dr. Joel Penney is an associate professor in the School of Communication and Media. His research focuses on the uses of participatory and digital media for social and political advocacy as well as the construction of collective identities. Dr. Penney is the author of the award-winning book titled The Citizen Marketer: Promoting Political Opinion in the Social Media Age published in 2017 by Oxford University Press.
The Citizen Marketer explores how citizens participate in political marketing campaigns in the age of social media. Penney’s Carpe Diem interview from a couple of years ago is embedded on the CMRC web site. Penney discusses a fair amount of detail about the ideas in the book. It’s well worth (re)viewing.
One particularly salient idea is Penney’s observation of the informality and frivolity of social media supplanting more serious conversation about issues and policy. Since the 2016 general election (when he wrote the book) and now in the wake of the 2018 mid-term elections, Penney gauges the extent to which citizen marketers have avoided and also succumbed to this pitfall.
The Citizen Marketer also provides an interesting methodological road map for student researchers. Although memes in and of themselves can be useful means towards a politically discursive end, Penney’s book goes “beyond the meme,” to investigate more serious political conversations on social media. The Citizen Marketer provides a methodological appendix full of pragmatic advice for student researchers that elect social media as their primary data source. The lineage and trajectory of research behind The Citizen Marketer is fascinating.
Listen to this podcast episode and discover what was for Dr. Penney the most challenging aspect of conducting naturalistic, qualitative social research about and through social media. You can read more about Dr. Penney’s work in the area of social media and the marketing of politics at www.citizenmarketer.org
Dr. Penney is an associate professor in the School of Communication and Media, specializing in new media, critical/cultural studies, and political communication and theory. Dr. Penney is the author of The Citizen Marketer: Promoting Political Opinion in the Social Media Age published in 2017 by Oxford University Press. It is worth mentioning that the book received the 2018 Best Book Award in Information Technology and Politics from the American Political Science Association and the 2018 Roderick P. Hart Outstanding Book Award from the Political Communication Division of NCA.