School of Communication Studies to Host Politically Themed Fall Colloquium Series

The School of Communication Studies will host its fall Colloquium Series beginning Friday, Oct. 7 at 2:30 p.m. in Franklin Hall, Room 312/314. The series will kick off with a presentation from assistant professor, Michael Beam, titled, “Resisting the Filter Bubble: Examining the Positive Impact of Using Social Media for Reading and Sharing Online News.”

Beam’s presentation will include analyses of survey data collected during the last two U.S. election cycles focused on the impact of reading and sharing news through social media. He will also discuss how the “Filter Bubbles,” or partisan echo chambers, do not necessarily emerge when people rely on personalized online news recommendations.

“There is a notion that the internet and in particular, an algorithmic system like the Facebook newsfeed, is harming democracy through isolating users from opposing viewpoints, but that really isn’t the case,” Beam said. “I hope to engage students and faculty in a critical discussion about the ways we interact with political information.”

Beam’s presentation will discuss how personalized recommendations and even diverse personal relationships shape the type of news individuals read and share on social media. He says his data illustrates the positive democratic potential of personalized online news systems, but will acknowledge some negatives outcomes as well.

The presentation is free of charge and all faculty and graduate students are invited to attend. The series provides an opportunity for faculty and students to foster intellectual and collaborative discussions, and to stay informed about current research efforts. This semester, each colloquium will have a political focus.

The dates for future Fall 2016 semester colloquiums are:
•    Friday, Nov. 4
•    Friday, Dec. 2

Additional details about the upcoming colloquiums will be available at at a later date. For questions or consideration for a future colloquium, contact Aaron Bacue at

POSTED: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 10:35 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 01, 2023 05:01 PM
Alexa Thomas