Loading Events

, ,

CITP Luncheon Speaker Series: Young Mie Kim – The Search for the Passionate: Conviction Publics and Targeted Appeals in Elections

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd floor open space
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States + Google Map

Food and discussion begin at 12:30 pm. No RSVP required for current Princeton faculty, staff, and students. Open to members of the public by invitation only. Please contact Jean Butcher at if you are interested in attending a particular lunch.

The digital age has raised significant concerns among scholars and pundits as it is believed to contribute to the decrease in citizen competence and participation. Kim challenges this assumption. Viewing public as pluralistic, horizontally-distributed subsets of the population rather than aggregated individuals as a whole, Kim argues that the digital age indeed sets a condition to develop “conviction publics.” These individuals specialize in the issue of their personal concern, organize collective action around their personal interests, and passionately engage in politics.

However, more serious normative concerns lie in the information supply side, such as the shift in targeting and message framing from the general public to the individual, including members of conviction publics. By utilizing a vast amount of voter profile data, computational analyses, and algorithm-generated content, campaigns precisely target each individual voter and take a surgical approach that personalizes election information to the individual. Such microtargeting poses a threat to accountability and transparency in elections and raises a number of normative questions concerning the functioning of democracy, besides voter privacy.

In this talk, Kim discusses conviction publics with extensive empirical evidence and introduces her new project, Project DATA (Digital Ad Tracking & Analysis), which addresses how election campaigns target individual voters including conviction publics.

Visit to be part of Project DATA.


Young Mie Kim is the Microsoft Visiting Professor of Information Technology at Princeton University (Fall 2015-Spring 2016) and an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kim’s research concerns politics in the digital age, and specifically, the role digital media play in political communication among political leaders, advocacy groups, and citizens. Her research demonstrates that the digital media environment has set a condition to facilitate the development of passionate publics who care about a particular issue based on their values, identities, and self-interests. Kim received a number of prestigious awards including the Best Article of the Year in Political Communication (by the joint division of Political Communication of the International Communication Association and American Political Science Association) and Vilas Associates Award (awarded for the excellence in research by early to mid-career faculty). Her research has appeared in flagship journals in the fields of Communication and Political Science such as the Journal of Politics, Journal of Communication, Communication Research and others. Kim taught at the Ohio State University before her move to UW-Madison and was a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, UK. Kim obtained her Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.