How Popular Culture Prompts Youth Collective Political Expression and Cross-Cutting Political Talk on Social Media: A Cross-Platform Analysis

Ioana Literat*, Neta Kligler-Vilenchik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adopting a comparative cross-platform approach, we examine youth political expression and conversation on social media, as prompted by popular culture. Tracking a common case study—the practice of building Donald Trump’s border wall within the videogame Fortnite—across three social media platforms popular with youth (YouTube, TikTok, Instagram), we ask: How do popular culture artifacts prompt youth political expression, as well as cross-cutting political talk with those holding different political views, across social media platforms? A mixed methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative content analysis of around 6,400 comments posted on relevant artifacts, illuminates youth popular culture as a shared symbolic resource that stimulates communication within and across political differences—although, as our findings show, it is often deployed in a disparaging manner. This cross-platform analysis, grounded in contemporary youth culture and sociopolitical dynamics, enables a deeper understanding of the interplay between popular culture, cross-cutting political talk, and the role that different social media platforms play in shaping these expressive practices.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalSocial Media and Society
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Spencer Foundation (grant #201900088).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Keywords

  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • YouTube
  • cross-cutting political talk
  • political expression
  • popular culture
  • social media
  • youth

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