From the early 2000s onward the Netherlands has witnessed unexpected and unprecedented polarization. Right-wing populist activism challenged the right of newcomers to belong in Dutch society. Coinciding with this populist swing, participatory media (web communities such as Marokko.nl, blog sites such as GeenStijl – which translates as ‘BadForm’ – and later Facebook and Twitter) have become available as sites for like-minded groups, including some with recent migration backgrounds, to convene and build communities that cross from the social into the virtual and back. They have become spaces for exchange, sharing, and discussion where emotion colours most interactions. Following discussion among cultural theorists, this paper will trace how affect intersects with discursive practice in order to understand how cultural citizenship as a discussion of the right to cultural difference is being practiced and contested. The paper examines whether and how participatory platform media have changed the role and the mission of the engaged media-audience researcher, and what she might need to do now that audiences arguably have become a new type of public.