Social media has figured prominently in two literatures in recent years: the rise of authoritarian populism and the desirability of publicly engaged scholarship. These platforms offer incredible opportunities for more publicly engaged scholarship but they also make it more likely this scholarship will be politically contested by groups and individuals outside the academy. There’s an interconnection between politics and scholarship which requires a careful examination of the role which social platforms in each.
This paper connects these two usually isolated areas of study through comparison of the role social media plays in each, identifying a tendency to avoid the complexity of this influence by failing to treat these services as platform infrastructures. It argues for a framework of platform literacy to support public scholarship through digital platforms in the face of the populist challenge which can now be found across the most prominent social media platforms.