Trip to the Amazon jungle (in Seattle)

In October, Hywel gave an invited talk at a really interesting workshop on social capital at Amazon HQ in Seattle, entitled “All Boats Rise”. He spoke about political polarisation as viewed through social media, asking whether the increasing focus on understanding social processes using online data is creating a bias towards apparent polarisation. Given that people with moderate or ambivalent views may be less likely to post political content, social media studies are likely to sample the extreme tails of an opinion distribution that is probably normal, with the moderate majority remaining invisible. This is an idea to test some time in 2019. As well as meeting some cool people at the meeting, including academics, social activists and tech entrepreneurs, Hywel also got to tour the Amazon Spheres.