Cheap Tweets? Crisis Signaling in the Age of Twitter

In this online seminar, we will discuss Erik Lin-Greenbergs paper "Cheap Tweets: Crisis Signaling in the Age of Twitter".

Presenter: Erik Lin-Greenberg, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

Respondent: Mauro Gilli, Senior Researcher in Military Technology and International Security, ETH Zurich.

Registration: via this link . A zoom invite will be distributed before the event.

Abstract: World leaders are increasingly turning to social media as a medium for engaging in crisis signaling. This raises important questions about the effects of emerging communication technologies on international politics. In particular, do policymakers perceive threats issued via social media as more or less credible than those issued through traditional channels such as official government statements? Does the domestic public dole out audience costs differently when a leader backs down from a tweeted threat than when she backs down from the same threat issued through more traditional channels? Using original parallel survey experiments fielded both on a unique cross-national sample of foreign policy experts in the United States, India, and Singapore and on a U.S. public sample, we find that the medium used to issue a threat has no effect on the perceived credibility of the threat and a slight effect on the audience costs imposed for reneging on the threat. This project extends work on crisis signaling and the domestic politics of international relations by taking into account increasingly used emerging technologies.

Erik Lin-Greenberg is an assistant professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the MIT Security Studies Program. Erik's research examines how emerging military technology affects conflict dynamics and the use of force. In his book project, he studies how remote warfighting technologies – like drones and cyber warfare – shape crisis escalation. The book manuscript draws from his dissertation, which received the 2020 Merze Tate Award from the American Political Science Association for the best dissertation in international relations, law, and politics.

In other ongoing projects, Erik explores how technology and public opinion influence decisions on the use of force and alliance politics. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in academic and policy outlets including ​European Journal of International Relations, Journal of Conflict ResolutionSecurity StudiesJournal of Peace Research, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The Washington Post. His research has been supported by the Eisenhower Institute, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Tobin Project. He previously held fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House and at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Erik completed his PhD in Political Science at Columbia University and an M.S. and B.S. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before entering academia, he was an active duty officer in the United States Air Force and continues to serve on the Joint Staff as a member of the Air Force Reserve.​

Dr. Mauro Gilli is a Senior Researcher in Military Technology and International Security at the Center for Security Studies of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH-Zurich). He has a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Dickey Center of Dartmouth College. His research has been published in International SecuritySecurity StudiesJournal of Strategic StudiesSocial Science Quarterly and PlosOne, and has received coverage in The Economist, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Wired, The Diplomat, Italian National Television (RAI1), Swiss National Radio (RSI), and others. 

Published Nov. 22, 2021 2:37 PM - Last modified Nov. 25, 2021 9:18 AM