Free Speech, Regulation, and Democracy in the Digital Age

Following the assumption that the information technology (IT) blogosphere represents an avant-garde of technologically- and socially-interested experts, this project investigates IT blogs’ impact on public discussion of matters situated at the intersection of technology and society.

Using text and metadata from about 400 IT blogs from Germany and the U.S., we study and compare discussions of digital policy in the blogosphere with the discourses of traditional media settings and policy discussions. Digital humanities research methods such as assisted close reading, distant reading processes, and the analysis of communication and reference networks allow investigations regarding free speech issues, privacy laws, upload filters, AI, and copyright legislation in the digital age. Our goal is to identify the most influential stakeholders in each respective subfield, their communication strategies, and the arguments they bring forward in order to bridge the divide between Germany and the U.S. in matters of digital policy.

Free Speech, Regulation, and Democracy in the Digital Age is a project of the Poetic Media Lab.