State College, PA
Kevin Munger is the Jeffrey L. Hyde and Sharon D. Hyde and Political Science Board of Visitors Early Career Professor of Political Science and Assistant Professor of Political Science and Social Data Analytics at Penn State University. Kevin's research focuses on the implications of the internet and social media for the communication of political information. His speciality is the investigation of the economics of online media; current research models "Clickbait Media" and uses digital experiments to test the implications of these models on consumers of political information. He got his PhD in Politics at NYU, where he was a member of the Center for the Study of Social Media and Politics.
His book, Generation Gap: Why the Baby Boomers Still Dominate American Politics and Culture, was recently published by Columbia University Press. The book theorizes "Boomer ballast" as a major force in the 2020s and 2030s, a force directly in tension with the ephochal shifts in information technology.
My next book project is titled the The Supply and Demand Theory of Social Media, and it builds on my research on Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, TikTok and especially YouTube to advance a unified framework for conceptualizing and researching the flow of content on social media. The book proposal has been accepted at Cambridge University Press (Elements series) and has a tentative publication date in late 2023.
I have a blog discussing social science methodology, political communication theory and the practice of culture and politics --- and how the internet has changed each of them. Take a look!
I am also a contributor to the august Crooked Timber.
Here's a "Mind Map" of my research so far, organized into four main sections.
"Political Deepfakes Are As Credible As Other Fake Media And (Sometimes) Real Media" (with Christopher Lucas and Soubhik Barari) . (Conditionally Accepted) Journal of Politics, 2023
"Temporal Validity as Meta-Science" . (Conditionally Accepted) Research & Politics , 2023
"Generations in Contemporary US Politics: Statistical Aggregations or Collective Political Actors?" (with Eric Plutzer). Politics, Groups & Identities, 2023
"Fifteen Seconds of Fame: TikTok and the Supply Side of Social Video" (with Benjamin Guinaudeau and Fabio Votta). Computational Communication Research , 2022. APSA ITP award for Best Paper published in in 2022
"Digital literacy and online political behavior" (with Andy Guess). Political Science Research & Methods, 2022
"Connective Effervescence and Streaming Chat During Political Debates" (with Katherine McCabe, Tiago Ventura and Keng-Chi Chang). Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media, 2021
"You Won't Believe Our Results! But They Might: Heterogeneity in Beliefs About The Accuracy of Online Media" (with Jonathan Nagler, Joshua Tucker and Mario Luca). Journal of Experimental Political Science, 2021
"Political Knowledge and Misinformation in the Era of Social Media: Evidence from the 2015 U.K. Election" (with Patrick Egan, Jonathan Nagler, Jonathan Ronen and Joshua Tucker) British Journal of Political Science, 2020
"Right-Wing YouTube: A Supply and Demand Perspective" (with Joseph Phillips) International Journal of Press/Politics, 2020
"All the News That’s Fit to Click: The Economics of Clickbait Media." Political Communication, 2020
"Experimentally Reducing Partisan Incivility on Twitter" Journal of Experimental Political Science, 2020
"The (Null) Effect of Clickbait" (with Jonathan Nagler, Joshua Tucker and Mario Luca). Public Opinion Quarterly, 2020
"Elites Tweet to Get Feet Off the Streets: Measuring Regime Response to Protest Using Social Media" (with Richard Bonneau, Jonathan Nagler and Joshua Tucker). Political Science Research & Methods, 2019
"Measuring and Explaining Political Sophistication Through Textual Complexity" (with Arthur Spirling and Ken Benoit). American Journal of Political Science, 2019
"Tweetment Effects on the Tweeted: An Experiment to Decrease Online Harassment". Political Behavior, 2017. APSA EPVOB award for Best Paper published in Political Behavior in 2017
"Choosing in Groups: Analytical Politics Revisited" (with Michael C. Munger). Cambridge University Press, 2015
"Quantitative Description of Digital Media" (with Eszter Hargittai and Andrew Guess). Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media, 2021
"The Dumbing Down of the State of the Union? Trends in the Complexity of Political Communication" (with Arthur Spirling and Ken Benoit). In Can American Govern Itself? (ed. Nolan McCarty and Frances Lee), Cambridge University Press
"Social Media, Political Science and Democracy". Journal of Politics, 2019.
"The Limited Value of Non-Replicable Field Experiments in Contexts with Low Temporal Validity". Social Media + Society, 2019.
Tipping the ScaleReal Life, March 2022
Hello GoodbyeReal Life, April 2021
The Rise and Fall of the Palo Alto Consensus The New York Times, July 2019
I have taught several semesters of Introduction to Data Science, using both R and Python, as well many courses on Text as Data. Course materials are located on my github, and are free for anyone to use, either for teaching or learning.
Course materials for Spring 2023 can be found here:
Course materials for Fall 2022 can be found here:
Course materials for Fall 2021 can be found here:
Course materials for Fall 2019 can be found here:
YouTube is awash with election misinformation — and it isn’t taking it down Vox, November 2020
Why the Trump campaign is going all-in on YouTube Vox, November 2020
Maybe It’s Not YouTube’s Algorithm That Radicalizes People Wired, November 2019
How the Cambridge Analytica scandal unravelled Vox, October 2019
Old, Online, And Fed On Lies: How An Aging Population Will Reshape The Internet BuzzFeed News, April 2019
How Norms Change The New Yorker, October 2017
Bots aren’t just service tools—they’re a whole new form of media Quartz, April 2017
Twitter bots can fight racism — if they’re white and popular Vice News, December 2016
Telling People to Be Less Racist Online Works, Sometimes New York Magazine, November 2016
Twitter bots can reduce racist slurs—if people think the bots are white Ars Technica, November 2016
Why Online Allies Matter in Fighting Harassment The Atlantic, November 2016
Troll hunters: the Twitterbots that fight against online abuse New Scientist, August 2016