Doc Media Centre newsroom on Higher Education

On 20 November, the Doc Media Centre hosted a newsroom on the future of Higher Education after COVID-19.

Our first guest was Dr. Dawne Irving-Bell (Edge Hill University), founder of the National Teaching Repository. We spoke about Dawne’s inspiration for the NTR, how universities have been transformed by the pandemic, and the future of open educational resources. We also plugged the forthcoming inaugural edition of the Journal of Social Media for Learning, which Dawne will be launching next month.

Interview with John Coster and Dr. Dawne Irving-Bell, 18 November 2020

Our next guest was Professor Richard Hall (De Montfort University), who reflected on how universities have responded to COVID-19, the impact of neoliberal managerialism on the mental health and wellbeing of staff, the hidden cost of academic labour, and the future of Higher Education post-pandemic. We also discussed Richard’s forthcoming book The Hopeless University (to be published in 2021 by Mayfly Press). The full conversation can be viewed here

In conversation with John Coster and Prof. Richard Hall, 20 November 2020

Many thanks to Dawne and Richard for speaking to us. These were two very inspirational ‘in conversations’ that gave John and I a lot of food for thought. We look forward to having you both back at the DMC soon 🙂

Chapter on sousveillance in Routledge Encyclopedia of citizen media

I have a chapter on sousveillance in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media, which was published a few weeks ago. Many thanks to Mona, Bolette, Henry and Luis for all their hard work bringing this together.

The abstract for my chapter is below:

Sousveillance

Paul Reilly, University of Sheffield, UK

The use of social media by citizens to ‘bear witness’ to traumatic events is illustrative of the new forms of digital citizenship that have emerged in the past decade (Allan et al. 2013, Isin and Huppert 2015). This entry will focus specifically on one such digital act, namely how social media platforms can be used to create and share acts of sousveillance, a form of ‘inverse surveillance’ that empowers citizens through their use of technology to ‘access and collect data about their surveillance’ (Mann et al. 2003: 333). The two primary forms of sousveillance, hierarchical and personal, will be critically evaluated with reference to a number of prominent examples. These will include the #BlackLivesMatter campaign to focus attention upon violent police attacks upon African-Americans since 2014 (Freelon et al. 2016), as well as the use of YouTube by eyewitnesses to highlight alleged police brutality during the so-called ‘Battle of Stokes Croft’ that occurred in Bristol, England, in April 2011. In particular, the entry will consider how audience responses to acts of police brutality shared on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are influenced by news media coverage of these incidents. Previous research has indicated that the sharing of sousveillance footage online may raise as many questions about the behaviour of the alleged victims as it does of the police (Reilly 2015). It concludes by considering whether sousveillant practices facilitated via social media constitute a shift in informational power from nation-states to marginalized groups.

References

Allan, S. (2013) Citizen Witnessing: Revisioning Journalism in Times of Crisis. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Freelon, D., C. D. McIlwain. and M. D. Clark (2016) Beyond the Hashtags: #Ferguson, #Blacklivesmatter, and the Online Struggle for Offline Justice, Washington D.C.: Center for Media and Social Impact, American University.

Isin, E. and E. Ruppert (2015) Being Digital Citizens, London: Rowman and Littlefield International.

Mann, S., J. Nolan and B. Wellman (2003) ‘Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments’, Surveillance & Society 1(3): 331-355.

Reilly, P. (2015) â€˜Every Little helps? YouTube, Sousveillance and the ‘Anti-Tesco’ Riot in Bristol’, New Media and Society 17(5): 755-771.

Doc Media Centre sousveillance newsroom

Sousveillance newsroom, Doc Media Centre, 18 September 2020

On 18 September 2020, the Doc Media Centre hosted a sousveillance newsroom.

Dr. Aliaksandr Herasimenka (Oxford Internet Institute) spoke about his ongoing research on how digital media is used by activists in Belarus. He has provided expert commentary on how Telegram and other digital media platforms have been used in the recent protests against President Alexander Lukashenko.

Aliaksandr talking to John and I about his research on Belarus

In a wide-ranging discussion, we discussed the role of women in the protests and how activists have used digital media to record and share experiences of heavy-handed policing.For more on Aliaksandr’s work, please check out his list of recent media appearances here and follow him on Twitter

Jenny Hayes (University of Sheffield) spoke about her PhD research on how NGOs have used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to distribute evidence of Israeli brutality against Palestinians in the Middle East.

Jenny talking to John and I about her research on Palestinian sousveillance

Jenny has written a blogpost about her project and you can follow her on Twitter

Thanks to Aliaksandr and Jenny for speaking to us. We have created a resource list and dedicated page where you can find out more about sousveillance here

Essay on importance of cross-platform social movement research

I have an essay in Human:Putting the Social into Science on the need for cross and multi-platform research to understand contemporary social movements such as Black Lives Matter. Drawing on my forthcoming book Digital Contention in a Divided Society, I argue that we need to move away from studies involving the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of Twitter hashtags to explore how activist content is distributed across online platforms. Thanks to Laura Lightfinch and Victoria Wood for their help with this. The piece can be read here

Presentation at AoIR Life 2020 conference

#AoIR 2020 Life Conference, 26-31 October 2020.

Suay Ozkula, Jenny Hayes and I have a paper at the AoIR Life 2020 conference this month. Suay has created a short video summarising the paper, which can be found on the AoIR 2020 playlist.

The title and abstract can be found below:

Ozkula, S., Reilly, P.J. and Hayes, J. (2020) Easy Data, usual suspects, same old places? A systematic review of methodological approaches in digital activism research, 1995-2019, Selected Papers in Internet Research 2020. Research from the Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers. 

Burgess and Bruns (2015) have linked the computational turn in social media research to a rise in studies that focus exclusively on ‘easy’ data, such as the ‘low hanging fruit’ provided by Twitter hashtags. This paper set out to explore whether this preponderance of easy data and studies focused on the 2011-12 protests is evident in research between 1995 and 2019 through a systematic review of digital activism literature (N = 1444). A particular focus of the review was the extent to which digital activism research revolved around the use of computational digital methods, case studies based in Europe and North America and data gathered from single online platforms (e.g. Twitter). The review showed that most of these studies focused on social movements, campaigns, activists, and parties based in the United Kingdom and United States, and were conducted by researchers based in universities in these countries. In contrast, there were relatively few articles addressing activism, institutions and platforms in non-Western /Global South contexts with the exception of the Arab Spring in 2011. In terms of methodological approaches, traditional research methods and big data digital methods studies were prevalent. In response to the easy data hypothesis, the study found that Twitter was the most researched platform in the corpus, but that digital methods were not as commonly deployed in these articles as traditional methods. Thus, the paper concludes argues in favor of greater diversity in digital activism research in terms of its methods, participants, and countries of origin.

Suay Ozkula summarises our AoIR 2020 paper

Book on social media, parades and protest in Northern Ireland update

I have received the proofs for my new book Digital Contention in a Divided Society: Social media, parades and protests in Northern Ireland, due to be published by Manchester University Press on 1 February 2020.

Here is a brief description of the book:

How are platforms such as Facebook and Twitter used by citizens to frame contentious parades and protests in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland? What do these contentious episodes tell us about the potential of information and communication technologies to promote positive intergroup contact in the deeply divided society? 

These issues are addressed in what is the first in-depth qualitative exploration of how social media were used during the union flag protests (December 2012-March 2013) and the Ardoyne parade disputes (July 2014 and 2015). The book focuses on the extent to which affective publics, mobilised and connected via expressions of solidarity on social media, appear to escalate or de-escalate sectarian tensions caused by these hybrid media events. It also explores whether citizen activity on these online platforms has the potential to contribute to peacebuilding in Northern Ireland.

The book will be available in both print and eBook format and can be pre-ordered here

Book on Social Media Research Ethics contracted with SAGE

Doing Ethical Social Media Research, contracted with SAGE, due 2022.

Yesterday I received the contract for my next book. ‘Doing Ethical Social Media Research’ will be published by SAGE in 2022. This book will explore the foundations of ethical decision-making, the perspectives of researchers on how to conduct ethical social media research, and how to address these issues when researching high-risk contexts and contentious issues.

The book will be a hybrid research methods text aimed at students, researchers and anybody with an interest in social media research. It will include summaries of key issues and exercises for those wanting to learn more about digital research ethics.

Many thanks to Michael Ainsley at SAGE for all his help in getting this contract over the line, and for the thoughtful and generous feedback of all the reviewers.

I look forward to working on this project with Michael and the team in 2021. I will try to post updates on here throughout the next 18 months.

BBC Radio Sheffield interview on misinformation

Social media companies have come under pressure to tackle COVID-19 misinformation

This morning I was interviewed by Toby Foster on BBC Radio Sheffield about the misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 circulating on social media. We talked about how we as citizens should respond to false and misleading information online and how governments and social media companies might take stronger action to address it.

Many thanks to Toby, Katie and Robert at BBC Radio Sheffield for their help with this- enjoyed it!

The interview can be listened to here

BBC Good Morning Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle media appearances

Stop Hate for Profit 24 hour boycott of Facebook and Instagram

This morning I did a couple of radio interviews about US celebrities joining the Stop Hate for Profit boycott of Facebook and Instagram in order to force them to take stronger action against hate speech and disinformation. On BBC Good Morning Ulster, Naomh McElhatton and I discussed whether these boycotts were an effective way to raise awareness of this issue. The segment can be listened to here

On The Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Foyle, I spoke to Anna Curran about the issues raised by this campaign and how we can better regulate hate speech and disinformation. This interview can be listed to here

Thanks to Anne Jordan and Dean McLaughlin for the invitation.

Curator of National Teaching Repository

Screenshot 2020-08-01 at 09.36.45

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.