Decentered Media Podcast on Wellbeing Media in Lockdown

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Yesterday Cormac Lawler I took part in a podcast hosted by Rob Watson focussing on wellbeing and media during the COVID-19 lockdown. We discussed a wide variety of issues including what type of future awaits local journalism as we come out of the pandemic. Rob runs the excellent Media for Positive Social Change , which has some great podcasts, blogs and other resources about community media.

Many thanks to Rob for the invitation, and to him and Cormac for a really enjoyable chat!

The podcast can be access here

Social Media & Society conference #SMSociety

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Dr Suay Ozkula and I are at the 10th annual Social Media & Society conference in Toronto this weekend. We are presenting three papers today (20th July) which address issues pertinent to the conference’s theme ‘Rethinking Privacy & Trust in the Social Media Age’.

The first paper, entitled ‘Whose data is it anyway? Doing ethical social media research in the age of datafication ‘, examines the responsibilities of researchers to social media users who themselves are the subject of mass surveillance conducted by online platforms. We draw on the key guidelines for internet research since 2002 in order to critique the two most commonly proposed solutions to these issues, namely informed consent and de-identification. Data from Eurobarometer and the Pew Internet and American Life project is used to examine the growth in digital resignation amongst users, as well as their expectations in relation to academic use of their data. We conclude with a number of propositions for social media researchers, which include the principle that all research of online platforms be considered human participant research and that all ethical stances be produced on a case-by-case basis. We argue that researchers have an obligation to turn these data subjects into ‘knowing publics’ by making their methods for collecting and analysing data more transparency. They should also engage unaware participants, especially those from whom consent has not been obtained, throughout each stage of the project lifecycle.

The second paper is called ‘Strategic techniques for qualitative Sampling online- a review of social media monitoring tools’. It examines whether tools such as Google Trends and Hashtagify can be used to identify qualitative case studies that are meaningful and broadly representative of broader social phenomena. We discuss relevant issues such as digital bias in our review of how digital methods can be deployed in support of qualitative research. The paper argues that these tools have great potential in finding suitable entry points for researchers exploring societal issues on platforms such as Twitter. They can help identify key influencers and metadata that builds a more nuanced picture of how information flows on social media. However, the black box nature of these tools needs to be acknowledged as a limitation of digital methods. We propose that researchers should triangulate these results by using more than one monitoring tool in their construction of social media data samples.

We are also delivering a poster entitled ‘Easy data, usual suspects, same old places? A systematic review of digital activism research, 1995-2019′. This summarises our ongoing work examining the methods and case studies used in this emergent field. We find evidence to suggest that Twitter was by far the most researched platform during this period, with the Global South neglected in this work. We also explore the researchers and journals that are disproportionately represented in this body of research.

Democratic Audit piece on social media and paramilitary-style assaults published

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Dr Faith Gordon (Monash University) and I have published an essay on the role of social media in combatting paramilitary-style assaults in Northern Ireland. In the piece, we draw on the work of the Stop Attacks Forum and Ending the Harm to explore how social media can raise awareness of these incidents. This is part of an ongoing project that Faith and I are working on – more details to come soon!

The post can be read here

Curator of National Teaching Repository

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I am delighted to announce that the National Teaching Forum launches this week. Funded by Advance HE, the NTR is an open-access online database where educators can share resources, ideas, and examples of best practice in teaching.

Supported by my Sheffield colleagues Xin Zhao and Paul Fenn, I will be the curator of the ICTs and intercultural learning section. We are looking for presentations, research papers, infographics, data visualisations and any other examples of how educators use ICTs to improve classroom engagement and educational outcomes of international students.

Information on how to submit your work to the NTR can be found here

Many thanks to the fantastic Dawne Irving-Bell for bringing this all together and for the opportunity to participate in what should be an excellent repository of resources for all educators.

 

 

BBC Hereford & Worcs interview on Russian disinformation on social media

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This morning I was interviewed by Elliot Webb on BBC Hereford & Worcester’s Breakfast show. We discussed the impact of Russian disinformation campaigns on social mediaand whether the UK government needs to do more to regulate online platforms in light of the findings from the Russia report.

Many thanks to Elliot, Toni and the team. The interview can be listened to here

Decentered Media Podcast on Lockdown Communication

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Yesterday I was in conversation with Rob Watson for the Decentered Media Podcast. We discussed what lessons we can learn from the public health communication campaigns during the pandemic, the future of local journalism, and the ways in which communities can be empowered during future crises. Many thanks to Rob for the opportunity.

The podcast can be accessed here 

 

 

Book chapter on Digital media and disinformation in Northern Ireland

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Delighted to receive my copy of Disinformation and Digital Media as a challenge for Democracy this morning. My chapter ‘Digital Disinformation in a deeply divided society: reflections from Northern Ireland” draws on myresearch over two decades on how digital media is used to frame contentious politics in Northern Ireland. I argue that digital disinformation around contentious episodes are likely to thrive due to the failure of political elites to address conflict-legacy issues. I argue that the current genre of information disorders have much in common with the propaganda deployed by both elite and non-elite actors during the conflict.

The book can be purchased here.

Many thanks to Georgios Terzis, Dariusz Kloza, Elzbieta Kuzelewska, Daniel Trottier for editing this excellent contribution to an important field. 

 

 

 

Supervising PhD post on importance of supervisors being kind to PGRs

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I have written a short blog for Supervising PGRs on the challenges of supervising PhD researchers during the pandemic. The key takeaway is the need for supervisors to be kind, supportive and responsive to PGRs during a time in which we are all experiencing stress and anxiety. Many thanks to Kay Guccione  for the opportunity. Please do check out her other work on mentoring, which i have found incredibly helpful in the past.

The post can be read here

BBC Radio Suffolk interview

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Yesterday I was interviewed byJames Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk about the recent Reuters Digital News Report showing that Instagram is a key news source for young people We spoke about a range of issues, including the problem of misinformation on social media and the context collapse that people experience using online platforms. Many thanks to James and the team for the opportunity.

The interview can be accessed here

Article on photojournalism published on LSE American Politics and Policy blog

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Delighted to publish a blogpost with addressing the recent police attacks on photojournalists during the Black Lives Matter protests in the US. Based on a study of Greek photojournalists conducted with Anastasia Veneti and Darren Lilleker (Bournemouth University), we assess the implications of these attacks for press freedom in the US. The post can be read here

Post on social media sousveillance

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I have written a post for Human: Putting the Social into Science on the social media sousveillance footage recorded during the Black Lives Matter protests across the world. I argue that although this footage may not guarantee the conviction of the officers responsible caught on camera attacking protesters, it clearly provides a focal point for the broad coalition of protesters mobilised in anger at the police killing of George Floyd. Thanks to Laura Lightfinch, Sophie Armour and Victoria Wood for their help with this. The piece can be read here

BBC News Arabic media appearance

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Yesterday I was interviewed on the BBC Arabic news channel about the letter written to Facebook by scientists funded by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiativein protest at the platform’s refusal to remove tweets from US President Donald Trump. Many thanks to George, Marwa and the BBC Arabic team for the invitation. A recording of the interview can be found here

BBC media appearances

Yesterday I made two appearances on the BBC talking about Twitter’s decision to classify two tweets by Donald Trump as unsubstantiated. First, I spoke to Joanna Gosling on the BBC News Channel about the implications of this action for the forthcoming US Presidential Election. The interview can be watched below.

I then spoke to Dean McLaughlin on BBC Radio Foyle‘s News at One show about whether this would this would lead to politicians being more careful about what they posted online. This interview can be found here

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Thanks to Dean, Joanna and their respective teams for the opportunity.