What can social media tell us about society?

Free Event

by NatCen Social Research


Social media data is of great value to researchers. What people say on platforms such as Twitter can tell us a great deal about society’s attitudes. It can also allow us to capture reactions to political events in the moment. However, since the Cambridge Analytica scandal – which involved data from millions of Facebook users being mined and used for political ads to sway the 2016 US presidential election – people are more sceptical of how their data is used.

For the last two years the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has hosted an event at Twitter UK as part of the Festival of Social Science, run by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

This year the event will focus on how social media data can be used in research that benefits society, as well as what ethical considerations there are in this field. It will also look at how things have changed since last year in this incredibly fast-moving and topical field.

Running order:

  • Welcome: Joe Rice, Data & Enterprise Solutions, EMEA, Twitter UK
  • Introduction from the chair: Gerry Nicolaas, Director of Methods, National Centre for Social Research
  • Talk: Kenneth Cukier, Senior Editor at The Economist – How social media data allows us to see different
  • Talk: Cath Sleeman, Quantitative Research Fellow at Nesta – The state of interactive data visualisation
  • Talk: Walid Magdy, Assistant Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics and Faculty Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute – Assessing online behaviour to measure the existence of prejudice and social inclusion
  • Talk: Dr Elena Martellozzo, Criminologist and Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University – How social media is shaping criminal research
  • Talk: Dr Steven McDermott, Data Scientist at HMRC/Member of Government Social Research Group (GSR) – The impact of social media research on public policy
  • Audience Q&A

Please be advised that we require the name of each individual ticket holder for security reasons.

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