Category Archives: Social Media Research Group – Workshop

Social Media Analytics Day Event

Date: 13 November 2014

Supported by the School of Media and Performing Arts and the Centre for Ideas

Facilitated by Professor Jane Arthurs. Administered by Mita Vaghji

Developed by the Social Media Research Group.

The day was a great success. Experts Carl Miller from the think tank Demos and Farida Vis from Sheffield University were described as ‘fascinating’ and ‘inspiring’ by attendees. There was a strong sense of the exciting potential for computer and social scientists to collaborate in view of what Carl described as ‘the datafication of the social world’ as he went on to explain research in the field of politics and civic life being developed at Demos. While Farida offered insights into how the increasingly visual nature of social media is being studied in her ESRC funded Picturing the Social research.


Carl and Farida drew on their extensive experience to offer advice on experimental methods for researching social media and pointed to some of the pitfalls to avoid when working in a fast developing and interdisciplinary field that is still in the process of formation. They also pointed to the future and the kind of issues that are likely to find funding for further research, emphasising the need for academics from across the disciplines to get involved rather than leaving commercial companies to mine this data for their own purposes without any external scrutiny, disinterested ethical debate, or open source development of new research tools and techniques.


The afternoon workshop used a structured sand-pit process to generate fundable research projects for further development. Carl and Farida offered invaluable advice throughout the afternoon and in the final stages selected a number of ideas to form three broad thematic groups, namely: Anti-Social Media; Doing Politics with Social Media; and Social Media in the HE Curriculum. Follow-up meetings for these project groups are taking place on December 11th at 10.0, 12.0 and 16.0 respectively.

Please find the presentation links below:

Carl Miller Presentation – Middlesex

Carl Miller Video – Middlesex

Farida Vis Presentation – Middlesex_Farida

Farida Vis Video – Middlesex

Anyone who would like to be included in the mailing list for the Social Media Research Group or would like to be involved in any of the research project development groups please get in touch with Jane Arthurs by email:


Social Media Research Group – One-day Workshop

Date: Thursday 13th November 2014

Venue: Executive Boardroom, College Building, Hendon Campus

Time: 9.30am – 5pm

Event type: Internal (Limited Availability 20-25 Delegates)


One-Day Workshop Event

Keynote Speakers

Carl Miller, Research Director of the Centre For the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos

Carl is the founding Research Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at Demos. It is the first British think tank unit dedicated to researching and understanding the digital world.

He is interested in how social media is changing politics, society, security and academia. This includes the birth of social media science and SOCMINT (social media intelligence), politics and campaigns on social media, security, terrorism, crime and law enforcement in a digital age. He writes widely on all these issues for Demos, mainstream and academic publications, frequently contributes to Wired and often comments in the national and international press.

He is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College, London, and has been a guest leader-expert on social media for NATO.


Farida Vis, Principal Investigator on the ESRC funded project ‘Picturing the social: transforming our understanding of images in social media and big data research’, based at Sheffield University.

Farida is a Faculty Research Fellow in the Information School at the University of Sheffield. focusing on social media, data journalism and citizen engagement. For ten years she has developed critical methods and tools for analysing social media data and completed several high profile interdisciplinary (cross-sector) projects such as ‘Reading the Riots on Twitter’, which examined 2.6 million riot tweets following the UK 2011 summer riots, in partnership with The Guardian and Twitter.

Currently, she is Director of the Visual Media Lab and PI on an ESRC funded project designed to better understand the huge volumes of images now routinely shared on social media and what this means for society. Entitled: ‘Picturing the social: transforming our understanding of images in social media and Big Data research’, it involves an interdisciplinary team of seven researchers from four universities as well as industry.

She sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Media, is a regular public speaker, and advises UK research councils on developing funding opportunities in social media research

 Research Questions

  • How can computer science expertise contribute to our ability to pursue social media research through data analytics?
  • What is important to research in relation to social media?
  • How can we use interdisciplinary expertise to develop these research projects?

To register for this event simply visit the Staff Development Portal or click on the link Social Media Research Workshop Registration.


Facilitator: Jane Arthurs, Professor of Television, Department of Media, Middlesex University.

9:30            Welcome and introduction to the day

10:00 – 11:30             Keynote Speaker – Carl Miller

Carl will talk generally about the rise of social media, and the research opportunities that it offers, and about the methodological and ethical challenges that it poses. He will also discuss some of the most important emerging technologies that this young field is using. In addition he will looking in greater detail at attitudinal analysis of Twitter, and talk about their latest research report: ‘Vox digitas: Understanding digital voices’.

11:30 – 11:45              Refreshment break

11:45 – 13:15               Keynote Speaker – Farida Vis

Farida will talk about her personal experiences of inter/post-disciplinary work on social media, reflecting on what does and doesn’t work and why? A key question is: how can and do we productively talk to each other? She will also explain ‘Picturing the Social’, including the research tool and how they are planning to use the Lab to engage with external stakeholders. She will then offer an overview of free tools currently available for social media research and how we might assess these in relation to different research questions. Finally, she will comment on wider trends within social media research, the changing nature of the funding climate, and point to possible future opportunities we may like to explore.

13:15 – 14:00                 Lunch break

14:00 – 16:00                Research Development Workshop

We will break into groups to discuss and develop research ideas and methods with Carl and Farida present to offer advice and direction. These may concern projects already in development or new initiatives in the early stages or even entirely new ideas stimulated by the mornings presentations. Participants will be free to move around the groups.

16:00 – 16:30               Report back and follow-up plans


Supported by funding from the Centre for Ideas (Cfi) and the School of Media and Performing Arts, Middlesex University.

Conceived and developed by the Social Media Research Group, Middlesex University. Current membership: Jane Arthurs (Media) Saeed Akhlaghpour (Business) Xiaochun Cheng (Computer Science) Paul Cobley (Media) Theresa Cronin (Media), Pedro DeSenna (Performing Arts) Chris Dromey (Performing Arts) Aidan O’Donnell (Media) Nasreen Hussein (Performing Arts), Josephine Machon (Performing Arts) Edward McCaffery (Media) Kevin McDonald (Sociology and Criminology) Sylvia Shaw (Media) Damian Sutton (Art and Design) Lucia Vodanovic (Media)

Additional members of the group are welcomed from across the university. Please contact Jane Arthurs E: