What's happening in digital society

Image of a social network map


Digital Volunteer Networks and Humanitarian Crisis Reporting

Dmitry Chernobrov

Dr Dmitry Chernobrov, Lecturer in Media and International Politics, recently published an article on Digital Journalism that looks at the appearance of digital volunteer networks and explores their potential to act as a new source for media coverage, in addition to their already established role as emergency response supporters. in this article he argues that digital humanitarians can offer a unique combination of speed and safe access, while escaping some of the traditional constraints of the aid-media relationship and exceeding the conventional conceptualizations of citizen journalism.

Read more

Opportunity for our students to attend the 2019 World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, Switzerland

WSIS MediaDr Suay M. Ozkula (Sociological Studies) and Dr Paul Reilly (Information School) have been awarded £ 8.700 by the Global Leadership Initiative in the Social Sciences (GLOSS) to take eight of our students to WSIS 2019 (the World Summit of the Information Society Forum) that will take place in Geneva, Switzerland (8-12 April).

The theme of this year’s 10th anniversary forum is “Information and Communication Technologies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”.

The students selected to attend the WSIS 2019 will work as policy analysts, writing policy briefs and blogs for the Global Policy Journal, pertaining to discussions held at the summit.

They will be expected to work in collaboration with staff and other students to produce one blog, as well as one policy brief each, and engage in GLOSS social media activities providing an opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience of international policy debates at the highest level and produce outputs visible to an international audience thereby enhancing their research skills and employability.

List of students:

  • Evelyn Baskaradas - M.Sc. Data Science, Information School
  • Victoria (Tor) Baskett - M.A. Digital Media & Society
  • Rebecca Heminway (formerly Barnes) - M.A. Digital Media & Society
  • Romany Kisbee-Batho - Graduate Diploma in Law, Law School
  • Daniel Kirby - M.A. Digital Media & Society
  • Myra Mufti - M.Sc. International Social Change & Policy
  • Hana Okasha - B.A. Digital Media & Society
  • Michael Pinney - M.Sc. Applied GIS, Urban Studies & Planning

Find out more

Blog: Our Profile(d) Selves: How social media platforms use data to tell us who we should be

Lukasz SzulcDr Lukasz Szulc is a Lecturer in Digital Media and Society who is interested in critical and cultural media studies with focus on such issues as identity, sexuality, nationalism and transnationalism.

In this blog post, Dr Szulc offers a theoretical reflection on the importance of social media profiles, their design and governance, for how their users present themselves. He explores how social media platforms translate their data-driven business models into the design and governance of profiles, encouraging their users to be capacious, complex and volatile, but singular and coherent at the same time.

Read the blog

DFoP: Defining Freedom of the Press

Man with tape over mouthDefining freedom of the press: A cross national examination of press ethics and regulation” is a collaborative project involving five departments across three Universities: the University of Sheffield, the University of Leeds, and Durham University. The project PI is Dr John Steel and the PDRA on the project is Dr Charlotte Elliott-Harvey, both at Journalism Studies. The project is interdisciplinary, with experts from the fields of journalism studies, media and communication, linguistics, philosophy and law.

The digital aspect of the project is situated in new research on digital entrants from the study's countries, including interviews with key digital entrants in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland. Here, the project focuses on how digital entrants are shaping and shifting how news is produced and consumed, as well as how it deals with each country's journalism ethics and regulation of the press.

Find out more.

Dr Stefania Vicari, Senior Lecturer in Digital Sociology, specialises in the application of digital methods to study discursive communities on social media platforms.

Stefania Vicari news image 2019In May 2019, Stefania - in collaboration with Professor Dorothea Klein- will start coordinating the digital methods side of SCArFEthics, an ESRC-funded interdisciplinary project investigating sustainable consumption and agri-food ethics. Stefania’s work will look at how the new middle-classes in Brazil and South Africa use social media platforms in their food knowledges, beliefs, practices and experiences. The project - supported by the N8 Research Partnership- involves a team of twenty working at seven universities in four countries on four continents.

More info here 

Blog: What does Facebook’s #tenyearchallenge tell us about the public awareness of data and algorithms?

Photograph of Helen Kennedy September 2014Facebook, Instagram and other platforms recently set their users a 10 year challenge: post your first ever Facebook photo and another one of you today. Whilst some users were quick to comply, others responded in unexpected ways.

In this blog, Helen Kennedy reflects on the recent #tenyearchallenge trend. Looking at responses to the challenge, she considers what they tell us about the public understanding of data and the companies that utilise it. Drawing on qualitative and survey data on the levels of public awareness, she finds that what the public knows about data continues to be unclear.

Find out more

Blog: Tokyo Pengyou

Jamie CoatesDr Jamie Coates, Lecturer in East Asian Studies, specialises in the cultural anthropology of China and Japan and is interested in how different ways of living, and different modes of thinking foster or inhibit humanity’s capacity to cooperate.

Developing his doctoral research on Chinese migration to Japan, Dr Coates is currently investigating how media and migration re-scale local imaginaries in the Sino-Japanese context. His research focuses on forms of play, consumption, and media used amongst Chinese people living in Japan and asks how quotidian phenomena such as transport, food, tourism, games, gender and sex are changing the way interpersonal Chinese relations and Sino-Japanese relations are imagined in the current era.

Find out more

Blog: What do drone users and drone developers think about their use?

In a recent blog post Dr Elisa Serafinelli, Research Associate in the Department of Sociological StuImage of Elisa Serafinellidies, has written about a new project funded by British Academy/Leverhulme to investigate the effects of increased drone usage in society.

The project will examine what domestic users think about their drone usage, whether they are aware of existing policies, what they think constitutes appropriate usage and how drones’ usage should be regulated. It is hoped that the research will help us understand how to mitigate the risks and maximise the opportunities afforded by drone technology.

Find out more