I look forward to presenting some new work on promotional tactics in disability rights advocacy at the 2016 ICA Preconference “Powers of Promotion.” The preconference, which is sponsored by ICA’s Political Communication, Popular Communication, and Public Relations sections, will be held at the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo, Japan on June 8th. You can access a copy of the program here and follow the conference on Twitter at #powersofpromotion.
The Ethics of Facebook Research in High-Risk Places
Paul Reilly and I recently presented a paper on the ethical challenges involved in researching social media protest in high-risk places at the “Protest Communication Ecologies” conference organised by the journal Information, Communication and Society together with City University and the University of Sassari (Italy). If you missed our session and would like to read more about our proposed typology of high-risk places and examples of ethical strategies drawn from research on Northern Ireland, you can find a copy of our presentation here.
Presenting at Protest Communication Ecologies Conference – June 2015
My colleague Paul Reilly (Media and Communication, University of Leicester) and I will present a joint paper at the ‘Protest Participation in Variable Communication Ecologies‘ conference, which is organised by the journal Information, Communication & Society together with the University of Sassari and will take place in Alghero, Italy between 24-26 June 2015. This event will focus on advances in contemporary protest and more broad activist repertoires at a time in which ‘established’ and ’emerging’ forms of mass media increasingly interact, providing a range of actors with enhanced opportunities to influence public decision-making, but also challenging their traditional tactics.
Our contribution will examine the ethical challenges involved in carrying out research between ‘streets’ and ‘screens’ in unstable and potentially risky political contexts, using examples drawn from Paul’s research on the use of Facebook during the 2013 Union Flag protests in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
ISA 2015 Paper
Sadly, other work commitments have kept me from attending the 2015 International Studies Association’s Convention in New Orleans in person this week (this is after participation to another conference in NOLA in 2012 was cancelled due to a hurricane! I start to wonder if I will ever make it to the Big Easy?!). However, my co-author Dr Paul Reilly was there to present our latest joint effort, which focused on the popularity of populist parties in Italy (Five Star Movement) and the UK (United Kingdom Independence Party) among Google users during the 2014 European Parliament election campaign.
The poster, entitled “Populist and Popular? Tracking Citizen Interest in Anti-Establishment Parties with Google Trends”, can be downloaded here.
Paper Accepted for ISA 2015 Convention
Just got news that the paper I proposed for next year’s International Studies Association’s (ISA) Annual Convention together with Paul Reilly (University of Leicester) was accepted. The title is “Populist and Popular: Using Google Trends to Track and Conceptualize Emerging Transnational Trends in Democratic Politics.” This study continues my working paper series on blending search engine data drawn from Google Trends with established political communication methods to explore emergent global phenomena in democratic politics such as the rise of populist parties and movements. Bring on New Orleans in February then, especially considering the pouring Glasgow rain outside my office window at the moment!
APSA 2014 Pol Comm Pre-conference Paper Now Online
The paper that I presented at the 12th APSA Political Communication pre-conference on the 27th of August in Washington, DC together with Dounia Mahlouly is now available on the website of the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. Click here to download a copy (password protected – pre-conference attendees only). This is part of my Voter Ecology project on search engines and elections in the UK, the U.S., Italy and Egypt.
Presenting at APSA 2014 Pol Comm Pre-Conference
The paper I proposed for the 2014 American Political Science Association’s Political Communication Section Pre-Conference was accepted as part of a panel on methodological innovation in political communication research put together by Laura Roselle of Elon University. This work discusses the methodology that myself and colleagues at the University of Glasgow and the University of Maryland devised in order to compare online search trends in elections to relevant news coverage on ‘traditional’ media outlets as part of the on-going Voter Ecology project. My presentation will touch upon all the case studies involved in the project (the U.S., the UK, Italy and Egypt) and provide a detailed overview of the different roles performed by search engines in different electoral contexts. I look forward to being back in Washington, DC for this conference, having spent several months there in 2011 doing fieldwork for my PhD. The pre-conference will take place on Wednesday Aug. 27th at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. The programme can be found here.
Glasgow #SocialMediaAME materials available for download
My slides for the Glasgow Social Media Analysis, Methods and Ethics event are now available for download here together with all sorts of interesting materials from the other speakers. This was a great event that brought together Glasgow-based researchers from a range of fields interested in all things digital for the first time. If you’re based in the West of Scotland and would like to keep up with Internet research carried out in this area, the organisers have set up a dedicated mailing list, click here to access.
Paper accepted for ECREA 2014 conference
I will be presenting a paper at the 2014 European Communication Conference (ECREA) in Lisbon in November. My work will discuss ‘Digital Narratives, News Media Coverage and the Limits of Online Dissent’ using the experience of online disability rights activism in the UK as an emblematic case study. A lot has been said in recent years about the innovative tactics, structure and leadership styles of online activist groups. Yet, the relationship between campaigning strategies and concrete policy outcomes remains largely unexplored: why do many digital campaigns ultimately fail to influence public decision-making in democratic countries? My work will address this question by focusing on the clash between competing policy narratives in online activist narratives and established news media outlets.
Speaking at #SocMediaAME 2014 in Glasgow
The College of Social Sciences at Glasgow University has put together a free one-day conference on Social Media Analysis, Methods and Ethics. I will be talking about the ethical challenges involved in researching sensitive issues online and the need to ‘de-bunk’ some established methodological conventions in order to enable the development of ethically effective research designs that are fit to archive and analyse social media content. You can find a complete list of speakers and download the abstracts here. The conference will take place on Friday 25th April from 9:15am to 5pm at the Adam Smith Building, Gilmorehill Campus and anyone wishing to attend can register for free here.