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Tuesday, July 12 • 09:00 - 10:15
Keynote: Susan Halford

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Location: PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02,
Goldsmiths, University of London, Building 2
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Susan Halford 
Director, Web Science Institute, University of Southampton, UK

Challenging Social Media Analytics 


 This talk explores social media analytics as an emergent field of sociotechnical practice.  Situated in the wider ‘data deluge’ social media data have drawn the attention of a wide range of academic researchers, policy makers and businesses, attracted by  the promise that they appear to carry of new insights into the social world. However, initial explorations of the opportunities in these data are beginning to reveal some significant methodological challenges in working with social media data and these – in turn – challenge some of the early approaches to and claims made from them. This talk works this claim through a local history of social media data research, specifically Twitter analytics, to suggest how we might now push forward from initial optimism and subsequent critique into a new phase of research that makes the most of these data through new assemblages of research practice.




Susan Halford is Professor of Sociology and a Director of the Web Science Institute both at the University of Southampton, UK. A Geographer by training and an organizational sociologist for many years, her recent research focusses on the politics of digital data and artefacts, with particular attention to questions of method and expertise. Susan is partiularly interested in how computational processes shape the curation of digital data and has recently explored this along two dimensions (1) the impact of computational processes on knowledge - what can be known, by whom and how - and, in turn, the implications for expertise and the future of academic disciplines (see for example Halford et al 2013 Digital Futures: sociological challenges and opportunities in the emergent semantic web); and (2) the question of data provenance and applied methods of data analysis, specifically in relation to social media data (see Tinati et al 2014 Big Data: methodological challenges and approaches for sociological analysis). Throughout her work Susan is concerned to harness sociological critiques of digital data and infrastructures to develop constructive and progressive engagement between the social and computational sciences. She is also actively involved in current debates around the ethics of big data, particularly social media data and is currently chairing the revision of the 'digital sociology' ethics guidelines for the British Sociological Association.



Tuesday July 12, 2016 09:00 - 10:15 UTC
PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - LG02 Goldsmiths University, Building 2