The Waldoboro Public Library, 958 Main St./Route 220, will host author Judith Rosenbaum Saturday, Feb. 23, at 1:30 p.m. Rosenbaum will talk about the effect social media has on democracy.

In the past years, social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have begun to play an inexorable role in American public life. Politicians use social media to reach their constituents and gauge public opinion; activists use these sites to bolster existing and new social movements; and reporters use them to crowdsource information. More importantly, people of all ages and backgrounds use social media for entertainment, to connect with friends and family, to stay on top of the news and discuss politics.

Scholars and social commentators alike have raised questions about how well informed social media platforms leave the average citizen; whether and how these platforms contribute to the polarization of society; and if they allow for much-needed civic dialogue between opposing parties. Judith Rosenbaum (assistant professor, University of Maine), author of “Constructing digital cultures: Tweets, trends, race, and gender,” will answer these questions and more through a discussion of her research into the potential of Twitter to serve as a virtual public sphere.

Rosenbaum will provide insight into how the often inflammatory and one-sided discussion on social media platforms can still contribute to American democracy in a meaningful way. This program, free and open to the public, was made possible by funding from the Maine Humanities Council. For more information, call the library at 832-4484 or visit waldoborolibrary.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.