Digital photos, social media sharing, and the Office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Power, Stephen (2017) Digital photos, social media sharing, and the Office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Social media has given Canadians the opportunity to directly connect and share content with each other. Market trends show that users of new digital media prefer to consume and share visual content with celebrity or human interest themes. Finding such visual content is easier when it has been produced and distributed by others. In particular, both traditional news and social media sometimes reproduce digital photo handouts produced by the Prime Minister‘s Office (PMO). These handouts give the PMO an opportunity to feed a stream of positive visuals of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into online Canadian media platforms. These campaign-style photos promote the prime minister but do little to educate Canadians on civic issues or government business. This creates a situation where the PMO might be diminishing the independence of social media spaces in the pursuit of political goals by reorienting these handouts towards social media-driven consumption. Where are PMO-produced digital photographs of Prime Minister Trudeau reproduced on social media and other non-social media web sites? By addressing this question, I attempt to demonstrate that by providing social media geared towards content sharing with affordable, in-demand digital photo handouts, political actors such as the Trudeau PMO use these platforms as distribution vehicles for their own positive leader-centric visuals. I hypothesize that almost all PMO digital photo handouts are reproduced by individual citizens on social media. However, significant numbers of reproductions on non-social media web sites were discovered under a specific set of circumstances. I highlight these trends that popular handouts follow and use them to construct a "shareability formula" that I suggest maximizes the spread of handouts online if followed. I then discuss the implications of these trends for public discourse on Canadian digital media and the changing dynamics between the PMO, mainstream news media, and a more responsive public.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 12967
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 57-67).
Keywords: Social media, Justin Trudeau, Photo handout, Political marketing, Image management, Information subsidy, Information subsidies
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Political Science
Date: October 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Social media -- Political aspects -- Canada; Advertising, Political -- Canada; Trudeau, Justin -- In mass media

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