ESRC Festival of Social Science event

This morning, Dr Tina McGuinness (Management Studies) and I ran an event for local schools entitled Could social media help you during a disaster?, as part of the 2017 ESRC Festival of Social Science. The description of the event was:

Can social media help build disaster resilience in Sheffield? What role, if any, should social media users, and young people in particular, play in efforts to mitigate the effects of these incidents in their communities and help keep themselves and others safe? Recent research has suggested that social media can help emergency services during human made and natural disasters through the ‘push and pull’ of crisis information. The eyewitness perspectives shared by citizens on social media can help first responders build situational awareness and identify those areas most in need of assistance. At the same time, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can provide emotional and material support to those affected by such incidents. For instance, during the floods in the South-West of England (December 2013-February 2014), citizen-led social media campaigns such as #forageaid helped provide support for affected communities. The latter would also lead a campaign calling on the UK government to dredge local rivers in order to avoid a repeat of these flood events. Twitter hashtags such as #roomformanchester and #wearenotafraid would also be used to provide shelter and express support for those affected by the most recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

Our guest speakers were:

Dr Tina McGuinness, University of Sheffield

Alex Mills, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Heather Cottrill & Derek Bell, UK Environment Agency

Thanks to Alexandra Ricketts and Rebecca Stevenson for assisting with the event and to the students for their participation at what was a very enjoyable event!

Some pictures from the event are below, for further information please see my Storify .

 

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Dr Tina McGuinness presenting her research on social media and flood events

 

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Alex Mills presenting an overview of how SYFR use social media 

 

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Heather Cottrill discusses how the UK Environment Agency has used social media in South Yorkshire

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Appointed Associate Editor, Palgrave Communications

I am pleased to say that I have been appointed Associate Editor for Palgrave Communications,  a fully open-access, online journal publishing peer-reviewed academic research across the full spectrum of the humanities and social science. I will be working with colleagues within the Editorial Boards for Communication, Film, Culture & Media, and Political Science and International Relations.

I look forward to sharing further updates on this work in due course.

Job: Full-Time Research Associate (fixed term)

I am currently looking for a full-time Research Associate (fixed term for 5 months, to start as soon as possible with provisional end date of 30 May 2018, and probable extension to 31 August 2018) for my EC Horizon 2020 project IMPROVER: Improved risk evaluation and implementation of resilience concepts to critical infrastructure.’ The closing date for applications is 22 November 2017 and further details on the role can be found here

If you have any questions about the role please contact me at: P.J.Reilly@sheffield.ac.uk

Recognised as Dedicated Outstanding Mentor

I am delighted to report that I have been recognised as a Dedicated Outstanding Mentor by the University of Sheffield’s Research and Innovation Services. One of my mentee (very kindly!) wrote this about my mentoring skills:

It made me reflect on my options and I feel that now I have agreed formal timelines, I am more likely to action my ambition to be a P.I on a project, sooner. I think it is reasonable to say that I would have applied to be a P.I at some point, but feel the support has really pushed me on, and also helped me realise that there are other options open to me.”

Thanks to all of my mentees and Dr. Kay Guccione (who leads the Research Staff Mentoring Scheme) for their very positive feedback and support- very much appreciated!

Article published in UK Election Analysis report

I have an article in a new publication on the 2017 UK General Election edited by Einar Thorsen, Dan Jackson and Darren Lilleker from Bournemouth University. This rapid response report features 92 contributions from over 100 UK and international academics . Many thanks to Einar, Dan and Darren for the invitation to participate and all their hard work in producing this comprehensive report.

My article presents some preliminary findings from a study of 1,842 tweets posted during the BBC Northern Ireland Leaders’ Debate, which took place a few days before polling day. ‘ I explore the response of Northern Irish tweeters to statements made by the representatives of the main political parties during the debate.

The article can be accessed here.

The full report is available to download from here

The full reference for my article is below:

Reilly, P. (2017) Twitter, dual screening and the BBC Northern Ireland Leaders’ Debate, in Thorsen, E., Jackson, D., and Lilleker, D. (eds) UK Election Analysis 2017: Media, Voters and the Campaign, The Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community, Bournemouth University, Poole, England: 110-111.

Nominated for best CoRE paper at ISCRAM 2017

Pleased to report that our ISCRAM 2017 submission has been nominated for the Best CoRE Paper Award. Congrats to my co-authors Laura Petersen, Laure Fallou and Elisa Serafinelli.

 

This work, based on results from the EC H2020 IMPROVER project , explores public expectations of social media use by critical infrastructure operators during crisis situations. Please email me if you would like further details on the paper.

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ESRC Funded PhD Studentship on social media and disaster resilience

Dr Tina McGuinness (Management) and I are looking for applications for an ESRC PhD studentship, entitled “social media and community resilience: a process based study of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services.” Funded by the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Collaborative award, the successful applicant will work with SYFR to evaluate how sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be used to promote community disaster resilience and encourage citizens to fully participate in disaster risk management and reduction initiatives. Further details on the studentship can be found here and the closing date for applications is 8 May 2017.

Paper presented at Transition V: Developing Dialogic Communication conference, Bucharest

This morning my Research Associate Giuliana Tiripelli will present our paper “Challenges and opportunities of dialogic communication in crisis situations: Twitter, affective publics and the 2015 Channel Tunnel fire” at the Understanding Transition V: Developing Dialogic Communication conference at the University of Bucharest. The abstract for the paper can be found below:

Challenges and opportunities of dialogic communication in crisis situations: Twitter, affective publics, and the 2015 Channel Tunnel Fire.

Giuliana Tiripelli & Paul Reilly

 

 

The ‘ambient storytelling infrastructure’ of Twitter today enables ‘affective publics’ to present their own perspectives on events and issues (Papacharissi, 2015). This phenomenon challenges established top-down communicative dynamics, in which definitional power appeared to lie with institutions, organisations, and journalists rather than citizens, and seemingly presents new opportunities for dialogic communication between these actors in the digital age. At the same time, ‘affective publics’ “are mobilized … through expressions of sentiment” (Papacharissi, 2016: 311), creating new information flows that challenge the ability of organisations and journalists to channel communicative resources that manage public responses to crises. This paper explores this binary role of ‘affective publics’ in contemporary media ecologies through the study of the Twitter debate that emerged during the Channel Tunnel Fire. The incident on 17th January 2015, during which a lorry was set alight by an electricity bolt from overhead power lines, led to the evacuation of the passengers and significant disruption to Eurostar services for the next few days. Specifically, the study analyses the role played by journalists and Eurostar staff in the co-construction of meaning of the incident. A critical thematic analysis was conducted (Braun and Clarke 2006) to explore key themes of the 12,652 English-language tweets posted between the 17th and 19th January 2015. URL links shared in tweets were also classified using an inductively-developed content analysis codebook. Results indicate that Twitter accounts belonging to members of the public, rather than the affected organisation (Eurostar) or emergency institutions, were primarily responsible for starting information flows about the Channel Tunnel fire and subsequent disruptions. Although many tweets expressed gratitude for the professionalism of the company and their prompt reply to customer queries, the study suggested an ‘imbalance’ between organisations and private citizens in the co-creation of meaning of the incident in favour of the latter. One interpretation of this finding was that it was a manifestation of the increasingly important role played by flexible and mobile affective publics in defining news events within the contemporary ecology, often at the expense of less flexible news organisations and political institutions that operate in these online spaces. This may present practical problems for emergency managers during incidents such as the Channel Tunnel fire, especially when the cacophony of views on Twitter make it difficult to both filter and share real-time crisis information on the microblogging site. In this way, the paper adds to the emergent literature on dialogic communication and disasters by considering the extent to which the mobilisation of affective publics online challenges the ability of emergency managers to share accurate real-time information with members of the public during such incidents.

Braun V and Clarke V (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3(2):77-101.

Papacharissi Z (2015) Affective publics: Sentiment, technology and politics. Oxford University Press.

Papacharissi Z (2016) Affective publics and structures of storytelling: sentiment, events and mediality. Information, Communication & Society 19(3):307-324.