Dr Ysabel Gerrard
BA (Hons), MA, PhD (University of Leeds)
Department of Sociological Studies
Senior Lecturer in Digital Media and Society
Undergraduate Admissions Officer
+44 114 222 6435
Full contact details
Department of Sociological Studies
Ysabel joined the Department of Sociological Studies in September 2017, having completed her PhD at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds and spending some time as an Intern at Microsoft Research New England. In addition to her research and teaching, Ysabel is the Chair of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) Digital Culture and Communication Section (2021-2022), and a member of Facebook’s Suicide and Self-Injury (SSI) Advisory Board.
She often talks to the press about her research and has appeared in venues like BBC Woman’s Hour, BBC News, The Guardian, The Independent, NBC News, The Washington Post and WIRED.
- Research interests
Ysabel’s research interests are in:
- Young people’s experiences of social media
- Digital identities (particularly gender)
- Digital research methods and ethics
These research interests underpin her first manuscript – The Platform Generation: Young Lives and Social Media Content Policies – which is currently under contract with the University of California Press.
- Ysabel’s research agenda is to produce knowledge that has clear and pragmatic social benefits, especially to vulnerable populations. For example, she submitted a REF 2021 Impact Case Study, titled Making Social Media Safer for People with Eating Disorders.
- Rethinking women’s guilty pleasures in a social media age: from soap opera to teen drama series. The Journal of Popular Television, 10(2), 185-198.
- The body image “problem” on social media: Novel directions for the field. Body Image, 41, 267-271.
- “Tom had us all doing front-end web development”: a nostalgic (re)imagining of Myspace. Internet Histories.
- Groupies, fangirls and shippers: the endurance of a gender stereotype. American Behavioral Scientist. View this article in WRRO
- Hashtagging depression on Instagram: Towards a more inclusive mental health research methodology. New Media and Society, 23(7), 1899-1919. View this article in WRRO
- The COVID-19 mental health content moderation conundrum. Social Media + Society, 6(3). View this article in WRRO
- Content moderation: Social media’s sexist assemblages. New Media and Society, 22(7), 1266-1286. View this article in WRRO
- Social media content moderation : six opportunities for feminist intervention. Feminist Media Studies. View this article in WRRO
- What’s in a (pseudo)name?: Ethical conundrums for the principles of anonymisation in social media research. Qualitative Research. View this article in WRRO
- Expanding the debate about content moderation: Scholarly research agendas for the coming policy debates. Internet Policy Review, 9(4).
- Introduction to the data power special issue : tactics, access and shaping. Online Information Review, 43(6), 945-951. View this article in WRRO
- Communicating feminist politics? The double-edged sword of using social media in a feminist organisation. Feminist Media Studies. View this article in WRRO
- Convergence book reviews: Reflections on the field. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 25(2), 278-280.
- Beyond the hashtag: Circumventing content moderation on social media. New Media and Society, 20(12), 4492-4511. View this article in WRRO
- "It's a secret thing": Digital disembedding through online teen drama fandom. First Monday, 22(8). View this article in WRRO
- Visualizing Junk: Big Data Visualizations and the need for Feminist Data Studies. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 40(4), 331-350. View this article in WRRO
- Book review : Behind the Screen : Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media. New Media & Society. View this article in WRRO
- Post, Mine, Repeat: social media data mining becomes ordinary. Information, Communication & Society, 20(12), 1817-1820.
- Status update: celebrity, publicity, and branding in the social media age, by Alice E. Marwick, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2013, 360 pp., £9.99 (paperback), ISBN 978-0-30-020938-9. Celebrity Studies, 7(3), 437-439.
- BeReal and the Doomed Quest for Online Authenticity.
- Letter to the Editor: Teenage girls don't need to be 'saved' from social media.
- Instagram can make teens feel bad about their body, but parents can help. Here’s how..
- Social Apps That Go Suddenly Viral Put Kids at Risk.
- The Perils of Moderating Depression on Social Media.
- TikTok Has a Pro-Anorexia Problem.
- The Perils of Livestreaming on Reddit.
- When Algorithms Think You Want to Die.
Dates Funder Project title Role Amount 2021-2022 SIGN (Screen Industries Growth Network) ‘Creator labour: screen production cultures and transmedia intersectionality in Yorkshire’ Co-I £39,985.50 2021 University of Sheffield Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account ‘Risky-by-design: making the digital world safer for children’ N/A £2627 2019-2022 British Academy Small Research Grant ‘Secrets on social media: exploring young people’s perspectives of anonymous secret-telling apps’ PI £6998
- Teaching interests
The modules Ysabel has designed and developed – Digital Identities and those about Digital Methods – draw on her own research interests and experiences. For example, she has spent some time at the Digital Methods Institute at the University of Amsterdam learning about their tools and approaches to social media research (see https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/DmiAbout), and at Microsoft Research New England thinking about how social media content gets moderated and policed (see: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/lab/microsoft-research-new-england/).
She likes to incorporate aspects of students’ own lives, experiences and identities into her teaching practices, particularly how they use and understand social media platforms. She also encourages students to think about their privacy on social media, how they represent themselves, and how they use social media in different cultural, geographical, and legal contexts.
- Teaching activities
Ysabel teaches the following modules in the 2021/22 academic year:
- SCS3046 Digital Identities (module and seminar leader)
- SCS111003: Introduction to Digital Methods Research (module and workshop leader)
Ysabel also supervises BA and MA Dissertation students working on a range of topics.
- PhD supervision
Ysabel is currently supervising five PhD candidates:
- 2021-present: Ziwei Xu, working title TBD (co-supervisor)
- 2021-present: Alex Kirby-Reynolds, Crisis and the State: Politics and the Everyday Experience of Crises (temporary primary supervisor; co-supervisor)
- 2020-present: Beth Nutbrown, Toxicity, Trolling and Social Bonding: How the League of Legends Community Functions and Persists Amid Toxicity (secondary supervisor)
- 2020-present: Qiran Zheng, Developing Long-Term Intimate Relationships in a Social Reality Shaped by Social Media Platforms: A Qualitative Approach to Young Taiwanese Online Dating and Companionship App Users (co-supervisor)
2018-present: Amel Bakour, Investigating Women’s Attitudes Towards Algerian Social Media Influencers (co-supervisor)