Suay Özkula, Jenny Hayes and I have an article out today in Information, Communication & Society. Entitled ‘Easy data, same old platforms? A systematic review of digital activism methodologies’, this paper draws on the results of a review of 315 articles published between 1994 and 2018.
The abstract can be read below:
Burgess and Bruns (2015) have linked the computational turn in social media research to an increase in the number of studies focussing exclusively on ‘easy data’, such as the ‘low hanging fruit’ provided by Twitter hashtags. This paper explores whether there is a preponderance of such easy data in digital activism research through a systematic review of relevant journal articles published between 2011 and 2018 (N = 315). Specifically, it examines whether computational digital methods have become increasingly prominent in digital activism research during this period. A key focus of the paper is the extent to which digital activism research focused on easily accessible Twitter data, and whether these were obtained via standard API services. Results indicate that (1) traditional research methodologies were more commonly deployed in these articles than digital methods, but (2) Twitter was the most researched platform in the corpus, and (3) single-platform hashtag studies were an archetype of digital activism research alongside single-platform Facebook studies and holistic approaches (hybrid, multi-method & multi-sited, e.g., ethnography). The paper concludes by advocating for greater diversity in terms of the methodological approaches adopted in digital activism research.
Many thanks to the editors, reviewers, and the iCS team for their help in getting this out. And of course to Suay and Jenny, for their collaboration on this. Hopefully the first of many!
There are 50 free downloads of the article, which can be accessed here
Last week I spoke to Dr. Hakan Karahasan, Head of the Department of Advertising Design and Communication as part of the seminar series at the Arkin University of Creative Arts and Design (ARUCAD). Many thanks to Hakan and his colleagues for hosting this talk.
I am looking to employ a Sheffield student as a Part-Time Research Associate on a project.
The aim is to investigate the key broadcasters and gatekeepers in this hashtag, which was used during the anti-Protocol riots in Northern Ireland in April 2011.
The Research Associate will conduct a Social Network Analysis to identify and visualise key broadcasters and broadcasters in #brexitriots. They would also produce time-series graph, code the most shared URLs and do some qualitative analysis of original Tweet.
A total of 60 hours are available for this position, with the work due to be completed by 31 March 2022. Ideally I am looking for someone with experience of SNA and visualising Twitter networks.
Please note this opportunity is only available to current Sheffield students and recent graduates i.e. those who’ve graduated within the last 3 years who have a graduate account.
Further details on how to apply for the the role can be found here.
This week I was interviewed by Egan Richardson for the All Points North podcast on YLE News (Finland). In light of the decision by YLE News to stop comments on its Facebook posts, we discussed the role of social media platforms in amplifying polarisation and the efficacy of their responses to problems such as hate speech and misinformation. I argued that online platforms often engage in PR exercises to deal with issues such as hate speech and misinformation. Self-regulation is an insufficient policy response to online harms.
A blogpost summarising the interview can be read here and the audio can be accessed here (the segment begins around 16:30).
Many thanks to Egan for the invitation and the interesting chat- great to see a former #digiadvocate doing so well in their career!
I have recently been elected Vice-Chair of the IAMCR Crisis, Security and Conflict Communication Working Group. Many congratulations to Virpi Salojärvi for becoming Chair of the WG, and to all the other candidates who stood during the recent elections. The results can be viewed here
Details on the WG can be found here. If you would like to get involved, please do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to working with members of the WG for the next four years.
The book has recently been made available as the inaugural entry in the newly constituted University of Sheffield Pressbooks Network. Many thanks to Maria Mawson and Helen Moore for arranging this. I look forward to working with the Network to promote the use of Pressbooks as a publishing platform for Open Educational Resources this year.
Details on the WG, and how to vote, can be found here
My election statement can be found below:
I am a Senior Lecturer in Social Media & Digital Society at the University of Sheffield. My research focuses on social media sousveillance, digital activism and the use of digital media to promote better community relations in divided societies. Although I am primarily a qualitative researcher, I have also used Social Network Analysis to explore key broadcasters and gatekeepers within crisis hashtags, such as #PorteOuverte.
I have been a member of IAMCR for the past six years, presenting my work at Leicester, Cartagena, Madrid and Nairobi (virtually) as part of panels organised by the Crisis, Security and Conflict Communication Working Group at Leicester, Cartagena. I have always been particularly impressed by the diversity of the sessions organised by Rikke, Virpi and the team, which demonstrate the broad range of case studies, theoretical frameworks, and research methods in the field of crisis communication. During this time, the Working Group has excelled at facilitating collaborations between communication researchers based in countries as diverse as Australia, Chile, Nigeria and South Africa. A cursory glance at the research interests of members neatly illustrates its value as a ‘meeting point’ for scholars working in journalism studies, media and communication studies, and political communication.
If elected Vice-Chair, I would work with the Chair to promote the activities, accomplishments and publications of Group members. This would include drafting the call for papers, reviewing abstracts and organising panels for the annual conference, co-editing special issues of journals like Media, War and Conflict based on these papers, and increasing membership of the Group. My experience chairing panels at conferences e.g. ECPR, MeCCSA would also enable me to fulfil similar duties at IAMCR events. I believe it is vitally important that the diversity of the Group is consolidated, and would be happy to mentor early career researchers, particularly those from outside Europe and North America, who are new to presenting at international conferences. I would also advocate trying to increase the number of crisis communication practitioners active within the Group, perhaps as part of a seminar series in the run-up to the annual conference.
Drawing on my recent experience as Social Media and Publicity Officer for the MeCCSA Policy Network, I would prioritise building the Group’s social media presence, with a specific focus on using Twitter to curate a list of members and promote their work online. YouTube could also be used to share videos of both in-person and online seminars sponsored by the Group throughout the academic year. Finally, I would explore the possibility of creating a mailing list in order to encourage members to share updates on their research activities. My experience to date suggests that these initiatives would consolidate the identity of the group whilst also encouraging future collaborations between its members.
I am happy to answer any questions from members should they wish to contact me using the details below.