Va. Festival of the Book Events Examine Social Media, Celebrate Women
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Festival of the Book is underway in Charlottesville, and its events are taking a look at today’s hot topics.
One event on Wednesday, March 20, examined how social media undermines democracy.
Media scholars have been trying to answer that question since the 2016 presidential election.
On Wednesday evening, University of Virginia professor Siva Vaidhyanathan and University of Pennsylvania professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson shared their thoughts at a UVA Center for Politics forum.
The pair discussed how Facebook helped President Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the last election, and they took into account multiple factors like political ads and Facebook friends serving as an echo chamber.
“They can change the things you think about when you vote,” Jamieson said. “So if I send you a lot of information about immigration, you’re more likely when you vote to say ‘I’m thinking about immigration’ and then if your position on immigration is closer to Donald Trump’s than Hillary Clinton.”
The event was hosted in tandem with the Virginia Festival of the Book and the Batten School National Symposium on Democracy.
Another Festival of the Book seminar on Wednesday evening celebrated women with an event called “Challenge into Change.”
“Challenge into Change" is a writing contest that celebrates women's stories of growth and healing.
Participants are asked to submit a piece of writing that’s 500 words or less about a woman who overcame a difficult situation in her life.
On Wednesday night, the winners were announced at Charlottesville's Carver Recreation Center.
"Through hearing other people's stories, you are able to better connect with your own and you are better able to find the power within yourselves to be able to overcome the challenges you may face," Bellamy Shoffner, a magazine editor in Charlottesville, said.
The winners will receive cash awards, and they'll also have their work published in the "Challenge into Change" book.