Shorenstein paper explores social media, electoral success of female politicians

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Social media might prove critical in the electoral success of women political candidates, but is a “mixed blessing,” according to a new discussion paper, Digital Divas: Women, Politics and the Social Network, by Alexis Gelber, a longtime journalist formerly based at Newsweek. Gelber conducted her research during her time as a Goldsmith Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

“As outsiders, or relative newcomers to the political process, women candidates may have an advantage in social networking,” she writes, but notes that “Ultimately, social networking is not a panacea for politicians.”

Alexis Gelber was a Goldsmith Fellow at the Shorenstein Center in 2011. Formerly with Newsweek, she supervised award-winning coverage of politics, social issues and international news as the magazine’s national affairs editor, assistant managing editor and the managing editor of Newsweek International. As director of special projects from 2001 to 2008, she created special issues and new entrepreneurial projects. In 2004 and 2008 Gelber edited Newsweek’s special presidential election project, behind-the-scenes accounts of the election campaigns. Both projects were published as books by Public Affairs, and the 2004 project won a National Magazine Award. In 2009, Gelber served as the founding books editor of The Daily Beast. She is an editorial consultant based in New York, where she is an adjunct professor at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Gelber is a former president of the Overseas Press Club of America. She is a graduate of Barnard College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she served as chair of the school’s Alumni Board.

Read the full paper on the Shorenstein Center’s website.