Shannon C. McGregor

Assistant Professor of Communication, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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About Shannon

McGregor's research focuses on political communication, journalism, public opinion, and gender. Overarching themes in McGregor's research include the role of social media and their data in political processes. McGregor's published work examines how three groups – political actors, the press, and the public – use social media in regards to politics, how that social media use impacts their behavior, and how the policies and actions of social media companies in turn impacts political communication on their sites. McGregor uses diverse methodologies like surveys, experiments, and large-scale computational and network analysis, as well as qualitative methods like in-depth interviews, to understand political events in socially networked digital spaces.


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In the News

Opinion: "Americans Are Too Worried About Political Misinformation," Shannon C. McGregor (with Daniel Kreiss), Slate, October 30, 2020.
Opinion: "What Even Is ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior’ on Platforms?," Shannon C. McGregor, Wired, September 17, 2020.


"Social Media as Public Opinion: How Journalists Use Social Media to Represent Public Opinion" Journalism 20, no. 8 (2019): 1070-1086.

Notes that journalists have long wanted to see and report public opinion clearly. Shows that amid declining trust in polls and crises in polling methodology, journalists have been turning to social media, mostly Twitter, to understand public opinion.

"The “Arbiters of What Our Voters See”: Facebook and Google’s Struggle with Policy, Process, and Enforcement around Political Advertising" (with Daniel Kreiss). Political Communication (2019).

Finds technology companies publicly resist being labeled as arbiters of political speech. Shows how they actively (and non-transparently) regulate political speech.

Digital Discussions: How Big Data Informs Political Communication (edited with Natalie Jomini Stroud) (Routledge, 2018).

Brings together leading scholars to shed light on how big data can inform political communication research.

"Twitter’s Influence on News Judgment: An Experiment Among Journalists" (with Logan Molyneux). Journalism (2018).

Indicates that the routinization of Twitter into news production affects news judgment. Finds journalists who said they spend a lot of time on Twitter and rely on it for their work ranked anonymous tweets as newsworthy or as more newsworthy than AP headlines.

"Technology Firms Shape Political Communication: The Work of Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Google With Campaigns During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Cycle" (with Daniel Kreiss). Political Communication 35, no. 2 (2018): 155-177.

Shows how Facebook, Google, and Twitter employees played an active role in shaping messaging and targeting in 2016 presidential campaigns, including embedding employees within the Trump campaign

"Personalization, Social Media, and Voting: Effects of Candidate Self-Personalization on Vote Intention" New Media & Society 20, no. 3 (March 2018): 1139-1160.

Finds that people react positively to social media from politicians that highlight personal aspects of their life alongside policy. Finds this type of messaging can increase an individual's likelihood to vote for a particular candidate, but this impact is greater for male candidates than female candidates.