The “dark side” of social media? Some background information
You have probably reached this page after listening to my talk on Mobs and mobiles – the “dark side” of social media in relation to the 2011 UK riots, which was broadcast yesterday on BBC Radio 3 as part of its transmission “The Essay“, in a 5-episode series entitled “At the speed of thought“.
The full text of the talk is accessible here.
Most of the insight on which the talk draws derives from a study I am doing with Antonio A. Casilli. Our article “Social Media Censorship in Times of Political Unrest – A Social Simulation Experiment with the UK Riots”, published in July 2012 in Bulletin of Sociological Methodology, is now exceptionally fully available to all readers (many thanks to our publisher, Sage, for making this possible).
In the wake of the August 2011 UK uprisings, Antonio Casilli and I built a rapid response study. Because data were not yet available, we used computer simulation and used our blogs and social media to validate our model. It is our belief that it is part of the job of a social scientist to contribute to understanding social phenomena and inform public debate in all circumstances -even when the timing is far from ideal and traditional methods impracticable.
The enthusiastic response we received from the blogosphere and the press prompted us to continue our research. We are now launching follow-ups and new developments, both empirical and theoretical, in other countries. We are involved in Just-In-Time Sociology (JITSO), an EPFL Geneva-based programme gathering international researchers that try “to understand social phenomena as they unfold”.
Video and Wiki
The project’s wiki provides more information about our ongoing research Internet Censorship and Civil Unrest (ICCU).
Filed under: Agent-based models, Internet and social media, Research, Social science methodology, Sociology | Leave a Comment
Tags: 2011 UK riots, Agent-based models, Civil violence, just-in-time-sociology, Social simulation, social theory, Sociology, Web, Web-based social networks
I am an economic sociologist with interest in social networks and their impact on markets, organisations, consumer choice and health.
My research also includes work in social science methodology and data.
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