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Theory of Change podcast

36 EpisodesProduced by Matthew SheffieldWebsite

Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? History is filled with stories of people and institutions that spent big to effect change but have little to show for it. By contrast, many societal developments have happened without forethought from anyone. And of course, change … read more


Theory of Change #008: Aaron Smith on how Twitter users see politics differently

Every podcast has its “lost episodes.” Or at least that’s what podcasters tell themselves. But booking, producing, and hosting a podcast all by yourself is a lot of work--and technical issues can make that especially difficult.

I started “Theory of Change” in 2019 but suspended it for about a year and a half due to some problems with my recording and editing setup. In 2021, I brought the show back with a live video setup to help prevent technical problems from blocking episode from being published. So far, the response has been incredible. We’ve had hundreds of thousands of downloads since the re-launch. Thank you for listening, subscribing, watching, and sharing the podcast.

I’m especially grateful to the people who are supporting “Theory of Change” and our new website on Patreon. If you can afford it, we can use your help with a monthly contribution. Just go to Thanks so much.

Since bringing the podcast back, I have also wanted to publish two episodes of the program that got lost in the editing bay. Today’s broadcast is based on a December 14, 2019 conversation I had with Aaron Smith of the Pew Research Center about a study he and his colleagues released examining the social dynamics of Twitter and how much of the discussion that takes place is dominated by a small number of accounts. The study also found some important differences between people who use Twitter for political news and people who do not.

I felt like the study, which is linked in the show notes, is so important and still relevant that I rescued the episode from a crashed laptop and am presenting it today. I hope you’ll agree. And my apologies for the delay.
--Matthew Sheffield

Aaron Smith on Twitter:

Pew Research Center study mentioned in the episode:

A 2021 updated version:

Theory of Change is hosted by Matthew Sheffield and is part of the Flux network, a new content community of podcasters and writers. Please visit us at to learn more and to tell us about what you're doing. We're constantly growing and learning from the great people we meet.

Theory of Change website:

Theory of Change on Twitter:

Matthew Sheffield on Twitter:


If you're not able to support financially, please help us by subscribing and/or leaving a nice review on your favorite podcast app. Doing this helps other people find Theory of Change and our great guests. Thanks for your help!

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