-- Katherine Haenschen --


I study the intersection of digital media and politics, primarily using quantitative methods. In particular, I am interested in how online networks can impact voting and opinion formation. This research agenda is informed by the years I spent managing political campaigns and working as a digital media consultant. My work has been covered by the Washington Post [link], Reuters [link], Pacific Standard [link], and Texas Standard [link].

 Haenschen, K. (2016). "Social Pressure on Social Media: Using Facebook Status Updates to Increase Voter Turnout." Journal of Communication. [link]
 Stroud, N. J., & Haenschen, K. (in press). Experiments. In P. Napoli (Ed.) Mediated Communication. Handbooks of Communication Science (Series Ed. P. J. Schulz and P. Cobley). De Gruyter Mouton.

Working Papers: 
 "Multimedia and Message: Mobilizing Voters with Emails and Facebook Advertisements."
 "How Much Is That Data In The Window? A Survey Experiment Determining Users' Valuations of Their Facebook Activity Records." 

Dissertation: "Get @ The Vote: Using Facebook and Email To Increase Voter Turnout"
◇ Winner, 2017 Best Dissertation Award, Mass Communication Division, ICA
◇ Honorable Mention, 2017 Best Dissertation Award, Information Technology & Politics Section, APSA

This dissertation investigates the effects of the two most commonly used forms of digital media – email and Facebook – as mechanisms of voter mobilization. To explore this topic, I conducted four field experiments designed to leverage Facebook and email messages to increase voter participation during the 2014 general election in Texas. These studies leverage unique affordances of both mediums to increase voter turnout: Facebook increases the visibility of users' behaviors on the platform, and email messages and Facebook advertisements are inexpensive and easy to send to mass audiences. The findings demonstrate that Facebook and email can be used to increase voter turnout, and that the effects of mobilization within peer-to-peer networks are much larger than those obtained from unsolicited mass-email messages. This work contributes to existing theory by demonstrating that voting behavior circulates and can be induced through networks. Furthermore, the heightened visibility of user behaviors within online social networks was able to amplify the effects of the treatments beyond what has been produced in an offline context. Overall, the results show that digital media can be used to increase voter turnout, and offer reasons to be optimistic about the future of democracy in our increasingly digital society. 

Questions? Comments? Want to do an experiment together? Email me: katherine.haenschen at gmail.com