‘All in this together?’ – Discussing the ethics of social media research

‘All in this together?’ – Discussing the ethics of social media research

One of the major concerns of social media research relates to ethics. The unprecedented abundance of data available online constitutes an enormous resource for researchers, but equally poses some serious and pressing challenges. A workshop held in Bristol on the 23rd of April, organised by…

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Selfie Citizenship: The Political Uses of Personal Social Media Photography

Selfie Citizenship: The Political Uses of Personal Social Media Photography

The Selfie Citizenship workshop was held at Manchester Metropolitan University on the 16th of April 2015. Organised by Adi Kuntsman, Farida Vis and Simon Faulkner, the event brought together a number of researchers to explore the connection between social media and theories of citizenship. This…

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Let’s Talk About It: The importance of sharing your work

Let’s Talk About It: The importance of sharing your work

Three members of the Visual Social Media Lab attended the What is an Image? conference in Copenhagen last week. Farida Vis gave an overview of various approaches and concerns relevant to the study of social media photography and Simon Faulkner discussed the development of the…

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What do we mean by ‘sharing photographs on social media’?

What do we mean by ‘sharing photographs on social media’?

“1.8 billion photos shared per day”[i] The aim of the ‘Picturing the Social’ project is to look at various forms of image sharing on social media, and as part of this, ‘Imaging Sheffield’ takes a specific look at the sharing practices that involve images of…

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Power, Visibility and Protecting the Odious: More Thoughts on Ethics and Social Media Research

Power, Visibility and Protecting the Odious: More Thoughts on Ethics and Social Media Research

In a recent blog post, I discussed the ethical problems faced by researchers who use online data. I argued that the visibility of data was often taken to imply that the material was public and therefore suitable for repurposing and analysis. But this attitude draws…

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‘What do you think?’: Ethnography and researching the perspectives of others

We conduct research not just to mine data from informants, but to learn about their theoretical and pragmatic insights (Boellstorff et. al, 2012: 16) For me, this line from ‘Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Methods’ sums up the value of ethnographic research. As…

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Reflexivity: Learning to See the Shadow of the Researcher

Reflexivity: Learning to See the Shadow of the Researcher

Never lose touch of the goal of ethnography: to make meaning of culture. Interpretations should be situated and they must be questioned. Ethnographers should always be reflexive about their interpretations, biases, and limitations (boyd, 2009: 30). The interrogation of taken-for-granted meanings has long been the…

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The Ethics of Social Media Research

The Ethics of Social Media Research

I will be participating in an event held by the Association for Research Ethics at the University of Bristol in April, on the topic of ethics in social media research. A link to the programme is available here. As a result, I have begun to…

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What am I looking for? Considering suitable research questions for an ethnographic study.

What am I looking for? Considering suitable research questions for an ethnographic study.

The ethnography I will be conducting for ‘Picturing the Social’ aims to explore and understand the ways in which people use and experience online photographic sharing. Before I progress any further, I need to ask myself, what is it I want to know? What is…

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Watching, Asking and Doing — Participant Observation within Ethnographic Research

Watching, Asking and Doing — Participant Observation within Ethnographic Research

One of the central principles — and strengths — of ethnographic research relates to the means by which data is collected. Alongside conducting interviews and watching participants’ interactions and practices, the ethnographer also obtains their findings through placing themselves within the same social context. Typically, this would involve joining…

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