Democracy Works: A Path Forward for Social Media and Democracy

Mar 1, 2021

Sinan Aral
Credit MIT

Sinan Aral has spent two decades studying how social media impacts our lives, from how we think about politics to how we find a romantic partner. He argues that we're now at the crossroads of a decade of techno-utopianism followed by a decade of techno-dystopianism. How to reconcile the promise and peril of social media is one of the biggest questions facing democracy today.

Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management, Marketing, IT, and Data Science at MIT; director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy; and head of MIT’s Social Analytics Lab. He is the author of "The Hype Machine: How Social media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health — and How We Must Adapt. 

In his book and in this conversation, Aral goes under the hood of the biggest, most powerful social networks to tackle the critical question of just how much social media actually shapes our choices, for better or worse.