Jul 092015

Today and tomorrow I am at the European Conference on Social Media 2015, in Porto, Portugal. Throughout the conference I will be liveblogging here and later this morning (in Stream B, for those looking for a session!) I will be presenting on the University of Edinburgh’s Managing Your Digital Footprint campaign and research work.

As this is a live blog so corrections, comments etc. are welcomed – and please be aware there may be errors and typos though I’ll tidy those as they are spotted!

We are starting off with a welcome from Sue Nugus the conference organiser, reminding us that the hashtag for today is #ECSM2015. She is also encouraging us to share and disseminate our papers and presentations – so do keep an eye out for these in the following weeks (I’ll link to my full paper once approved by the University of Edinburgh Pure team).

Welcome from the conference Chair: Dr Anabela Mesquita, School of Accounting and Administration at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto

The scope of this conference is to encourage participation form a range of disciplines undertaking social media research. There were 202 abstracts, of which 59 academic papers, 11 PhD papers, 3 masters papers, 11 work in progress papers and 1 non-academic paper – with speakers from 30 countries.

Yesterday we had a Social Media Student Showcase including a seminar on Social Media and Employability, as well as a Qualitative Research Methods seminar.

And I just want to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of you for coming, to my colleagues and all of the organisers.

Anabela’s colleague is also providing an official welcome to the Institute:

I am very proud to welcome you all to the second European Conference on Social Media. Throughout it’s 128 years of existance ISCAP has been making a remarkable economic and social impact on the surrounding community but we are also looking more internationally, working with universities and organisations around the world, but particularly in Europe.

Anabela is introducing our opening keynote speaker, Luis Borges Guveia, who has been working on social media since 1996, as the internet was just getting started. He has been working on digital cities and social media and he is going to share his experience with us today.

Keynote presentation: Dr Luis Borges Gouveia, University Fernando Pessoa, Portugal – Where is the Wisdom we lost in knowledge: security issues and human relationships in social media

This presentation represents an opportunity to reflect upon changing times. The main idea is that nowadays we are in a time of crisis and change. How can we explore social media in a business context? This is a need not a possibility… I’ll start with a bit of poetry, then my take on what an information society is, what social media is and has been, some of the challenges social media raises and then some final remarks.

So, first of all.. to T.S. Eliot.. Eliot is a worldwide poet – the Brazilian people love him even more than the Portuguese! His university career was in the UK, in France, and also in the US. He was a very keen social critic, through humour. I very much like his poem “The Rock”, which many say predict the Information Society… That we are running for what we can get, what we can capture. It is all about perspective. This is something that I would like to say: maybe in these changed times and changes economic times, we need to change our own perspective and maybe social media is one of the ways we can do that.

One may say that there is value in meaning, but we are very focused at the moment on value creation. We are in a time of value destruction (drawing on Peters’ (1934) notion of creative destruction).

The information society is a society where information and communication technology are the primary resource to exchance digital information and to support interaction between individuals using practices and ethods in permanent change (Gouveia and Gaio, 2004) but to some extent this is an intermediary change… If we move to a place where we pay for interactions we may make money but we may also kill relationships. So our business models have to change and move on…

So in the information society we see heavy use of ICT (compyuters and networks) and growing use of digital, towards a network organisation – which is why social media is interesting to deal with. We are already in a world where if something is not Google-able then it may as well not exist, such is our use of these tools.

We have ideas of a world that is highly networked, fast paced, with ongoing change, mutating workplace – and perhaps also leisure, do it now, everywhere society, highly collaborative, etc. These are not new ideas but they are now central ideas to what we do. We are already in an information society – information is not powerful anymore, access to information is the value now.

There are two many aspects here: issues of sustainability and sovereignty. These are the issues we are fighting for, that we are facing now. Sustainability – how can I generate the value to be myself, to have my freedom, for social, political, satisfaction or any other type. Sovereignty. And the information society is threatening and eroding both of these. We also see issues of availability of time – increasingly limited, and space – what does it mean to be present?

Now, I’m an optimist! My background is in computer science and we are seeing machine learning, mobile, ubiquitous connections. The computer is hidden, the network is hidden, but data is at the heart of everything – it is all transaction related. There is an almost religious quality to this. And it is not so much about the internet. We are at a place where we don’t need to learn or pay for our computers in some ways. There are therefore things we need to do…

1. From the analogue to the digital world:

  • We used to memorise to learn, in the digital world we forget to learn as we have to discard to learn, relearn, we unlearn! (read Gibson’s New Powers from 1994, you will get shivers – but that’s a diagnosis not a way to solve this).
  • Work used to be about taking time, in a digital worls it is about work without taking time.
  • And teaching was about organising, structuring and transmitting. In a digital world it is about curation, storytelling, creative aspects, and critical and analytical skills.

2. Mechanical Turk

This concept originates in the 20th century, with the concept of getting robots to play chess. The first machine learning work, Turing test experiments etc. But we have moved on from that… Looking to how we can get cheap labour based on micro tasks. So we make complex added value tasks into smaller units that have less added value, which means we can pay less for them, and make bigger margins and more profit. For years we said this isn’t possible for creative and intellectual work – but Wikipedia shows that it really is possible, that there is available free time of people. Getting simpler, direct, formats, work is done cheaper. And the mechanical turk model is really changing the valuing of creativity and work and that is a really important change.

3. Information Overload

In countries already engaged in information societies the main disearse is stress and overload, because we have to deal with information in quantity, in complexity… This means we have to filter and are forever ignoring, reading, discarding and discussing to manage that wide availability of information and our own limited time.

To revisit some ideas from 2009: The emergence and rise of mass social media we have seen a move away from traditional media towards social media, to client side focus. With organisations we now see marketing but also customer services etc. in widespread adoption – away from selling the concept to just using it. And we have seen the move away from the Social Media Guru to a mind shift towards adoption, usage, collaboration. So, six years on from some of those trends some of the issues and needs are still valid, though social media is already in wide adopting.

And it is still a challenge to engage people, in how to get not just the number but the real value. For instance I can have 600 friends on Facebook, but the value sits in a much smaller network of those connections. Actually our convergence of contacts and overlaps of networks seems like a timebomb machine!

And in social media we need to share value to get people’s time, attention, data. Towards getting some sort of money, satisfaction, something that rewards our effort.

I think that the “old days” matter because younger people, the millennials, are starting to be in the workplace and that will mean huge change… They can do somethings faster, better… They are used to using mobile devices, less TV, gaming, streaming music, online video, online reading and generally hours on the net every day.

The issue is content, context and experience. The drive is no longer to make content, but to make meaning, value and experience.

So I want to move onto some of the challenges for business… Negotiating the “old” and the new times – there has to be a relationship between the two, so that those who provide funding, backing, etc. for business can understand the new world on their terms. So we can start with the platforms – that’s a concept that can be grasped. Whether that is our own platform or our own cloud/cloudlet that we control.

Most of my personal research is the idea of networks and business networks, and that networks are a way to provide added value, joining the organisation on one side to individuals on the other side. For social businesses there is less distinction between those spheres though. Do we still need enterprise or companies anymore? Can we just work directly now? This is a new set of ideas we are engaging in now. The credit driven economy, the idea of currency backed by loans is game over. Even if organisations matter, power of governments, use of taxes etc. do not work as well, we need other ways to conceive of value and business.

Using social media to promote change. The global market is in an alarming transition. We don’t know how to implement, engage in that situation but the network is definitely part of it. Organisations moving to new digital models as cornerstones of their business – around market share, network effects, digital ecosystems, community centric, stakeholder experience. Stakeholders are not a juridic concept, but they are everywhere. It is a sustainability problem.

Now, I cannot talk on this without referencing email… If I was a terrorist I would put them to work on email. Email is such an issue for time, for information overload… Smart people could push me forward by taking advantage of my entropy. Email is a great notification system though and still central to business… But for businesses we see a scale from email, to website, to ecommerce tools, ebusiness tools, environments for networked organisations, to digital ecosystems.

The idea is not to use A platform… But to impose MY platform… In portuga one of the most popular platforms is for collecting taxes, very efficient. As a big enterprise I can say “no no no, use another platform for logical reasons” – but this is a power fight. As we move to digital systems, to digital platforms… for a long time now we have the idea of “if you want to play with us, you have to play on our terms, in our way”. And those tend not to be in the enterprise context but higher. So for instance learning environments have to be more interactive – from SAKAI type systems, to common tools Mediate in Spain, Coursera and EdX in the US. That is an issue of power, not an issue of service.

So, social media in terms of business can provide a position to change, as in system analysis we can have with agile systems. Agile systems provides a useful framework and context to understand social media… There are a lot of similarities… But there are also issues to consider… gaining power means that all the ideas of the network – the good ideas of openness, interaction, alternatives, changed costs, response etc… can be there but all are dependent on those with the power to enable that – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. has the power to shape that, to say what appears in your timeline. It looks like the network has power, but that isn’t actually the case – it is not peer to peer or an open network anymore.

We need to remember that data is the new capital. If you read the big five Gartner predictions etc. you will see that we are in the big data era.  So we need to not just have data everywhere, know where it is, having it available and controlled, but we also need to have a holistic view of our data to know how we can spend/negotiate etc. We need to use our resources wisely, making best use of others’ data first.

So we are evolving from social media to social business. I see the future as being “smart” in terms of how we do information analysis. So we have social media enabling extension of space, time is a scarce resource but more reach can mean spending less time. For people in organisations we need less government, but more governance. When we perform digital it is not just related with computers and networks. We are still analogue, but our interactions are more digital than ever…

“Privacy is for rich people” – for security reasons our data is not private on the whole… Do you know where genuinely important people take their coffee? Have their meetings? Send their kids to school? No. And that’s the issue, that’s the change. The powerful have privacy, whilst the rest of us are public figures in some sense.

And the meme is not organised. One can expect to get data, information and knowledge from diverse non traditional sources. We have to rely on others. And that means we have to stay free, to have available time to actually engage, to visit etc. But there are pressures on time and how we use it already.

And we need skills to be smart… We need to deal with information overload and critical information skills.And alongside all of the practical skills we need to be unique and interesting and fun, and a brand, to create value.

To finish I want to quickly show the project management triangle – the choices across Good / Cheap / Fast… You can have any two parts of that, but not all at once… I like the idea that you can – I work in a University and yet I think we should be free – but I know that that just isn’t the case.

And we have project management monsters – people want everything that we do to be Faster, More, Cheaper and Beautiful!


Q1) You mentioned personal cloudlets in your talk, can you explain that.

A1) The cloud comes from providers like Amazon… It comes from the idea that you can provide services and products to others… Like the idea of building bridges. The idea of internet as a free space, sits with clouds for me. The clouds keeps those monsters alive – faster, cheaper, more – as they scale without limits. Data wise we cannot store all we need on our own machines now, and that is increasingly the case. The cloud is other people’s computers…. but that has some issues too. So cloudlets mean we have a data centre and services… But as a cloud provider I have the power. So a cloudlet is a personal version of that. That’s a way to make things easy and scalable but retain power over that data.

Q2) I would like to hear your opinion about internet.org – a new initiative from Facebook to bring internet and access to areas of the world without issue. They are working with phone companies. So whoever has the phone has internet access, but that access is limited to what Facebook provides access to. What is your opinion on that access which is restricted, and coming to areas where there are big inequalities.

A2) That is a good thing. It extends markets. Those markets are more challenging to reach… Media controllers already have a lot of power to filter information… The Portuguese media owners are being brought by someone – Chinese or American buyers… This is part of that power grab for space. But the internet is a little different… It is harder to control the space. All the ideas really are about conquering the people… People are central here, not the platforms and that makes these spaces work in a different way. So, for instance in Angola, where there are 24-6 million people, and most are in their twenties – they are a growing population and economy. You can invest in schools, but at present there is little power connectivity, no phone connectivity for most. But they do have some mobile digital devices – more empowering. Next year they will have their own satellite. They have a 150€ data centre. Those countries are moving direct to this new digital world. But maybe Facebook’s model is an old 20th Century solution to the problem…

And on that slightly enigmatic verdict on the ethics of Facebook deciding what is, and is not appropriate content, we move into parallel streams. I am presenting in Stream B:

Reputation and the Digital Footprint (chaired by Athanasios Mazarakis)

Understanding Digital Reputation on Instagram: A case study of social media mavens – Eman Alshawaf

I will be talking about a project which has been 2 years in the making and required lots of human coders, and the complex nature of Instagram data.

So, what was the scope of the study? Well Instagram is a social media based platform around images and business, creative, and personal activities of all natures. And we wanted to look at who influences others, predicts and leads trends, etc. And those are our “Maven” – this is based on Rogers (1983) work on opinion leaders/mavens who are experts in certain fields. In the modern world the tech community (see Janssen, n.d.) we have individuals who become influential by what they share, by their presences and networks, etc.

Instragram is image based, very popular… there are 300 million users across the globe. You need an email account and phone to get started, but that’s it. And we wanted to see how once contructs their presence on a social media platform to become influential, and what is it that makes them influential.

So we started with observation and a model looking at different flavours of promotion on Instagram – personal promotion, brand promotion (ambiguous as can be your desire to be associated with the brand or your own brand), and sponsored promotion (where you are paid to promote).

Our hypothoseis is that these three types of promotion as part of a self-promotion cycle, is what makes for influence.

Now, when we began this work little was published on Instragram, but there is a lot more published already. Suler (2008) found that  Khosla et al (2014). Silva 2014 enable observations of actions of hundres of millions of people in near real time. Hochman & Manovich (2013) found that information is no longer just produced by professionals. Kietzman, Hermkens, McCarthy and Silvestre (2011) looked at marketers realising that the publicity of brands in image based social media. Fiolet (2014) found that there is a strong connection between the number of follows and the number of likes, and images are value depending on the context they are shared in.

So our second and third phase of research was a content analysis process, of social media mavens on Instagram. We selected several mavens:

  • Camila Coelho – brazilian fashion and beauty blogger, based in the US, with huge popularity (2 m followers), and she is the face of many brands.
  • Chiara Ferragni – well over 2 m followers, a team that follow her everywhere, several brands and areas of influence.

For these mavens we did a content analysis of thousands of posts from each person, using the three levels of promotion as a variable. We sampled every 4th image from September 2012 to September 2013 . And then in the third phase of research we looked at every 1st picture of the month was analysed for comments.

So returning to those variables – an image of the person might be personal promotion, brand promotion may include an image of an item, and sponsored promotion are where they are clearly paid to do that promotion.

Doing that research we found a fairly consistent picture in terms of the mix of those promotion types… But there would be some variance when they were travelling, for instance. But over the year the balance was fairly even. And to track global reputation, we used language as a proxy. So for Coelho we could see Portuguese as an influential language for her, which is also her native language… But actually we saw that expand over time, to 12(?) different languages by the end of our research. Similarly Ferragni saw a real growth of recognition, to 19 different languages at the end of our research.

We saw a lot of change over time, but we found something interesting… We found that mix of promotions mattered… Personal content created authenticity and interest, but that promotion of brands and sponsorship was also important to building profile. There is a strategy one could adopt to become a maven…

In terms of future opportunities we would like to test this on a larger scale, and also to look at audience perspective.


Q1) Did you contact your mavens, to let them know about the study, the outcomes… If they are managing reputations they may be concerned about how they are presented in this way.

A1) We did try to contact them but they didn’t reply. And we have found that Harvard have also don a study on Ferragni. But I am sure they are aware of the strategic nature of their pro

Q2) Were there any non promotional variables or were all images classified as personal if not “brand” or “sponsored”?

A2) For brand promotion, had to be image, hashtagged etc. Had to be very clear. Similarly sponsorship had to be very clearly signalled. Some posts were ambiguous unless you understood the data – e.g. a selfie from a promotional event.

Q3) How did that issue of brands work?

A3) Just using brand name, even if self promoting in tone, that’s a brand promotion… Potential confusion…

Q4) Comments and the findings from that…?

A4) It was mainly about global nature of comments. Always recognising influence of that maven… even if negative in tone, discursive in tone. And our comments were sampled once a month

Q5) Even though it wasn’t the focus, when you looked at comments made… Was there any relationship between comments made, and category of posts…

A5) Interesting question. Our reaction was that personal promotion was more engaging, but brand promotion were quite exciting. Sponsored promotion was much more mixed – because some were not happy that mavens got special opportunities. But personal promotion was the most popular type of post.

Q6) How did you code comments?

A6) Just by language, from which we could estimate the location of the follower – but of course languages are used in multiple

Q7) Where did those types of promotions come from – that classification?

A7) For the comments we had a focus group around those categories… We saw a linear progression from personal promotion to brand and sponsored promotion. We did not allow overlaps between those categories in terms of our definition.

Q8) What is the definition of maven here?

A8) Varies but for us we selected fashion mavens here, people who are influential here. That area was selected because it is such a fast moving field, with changing influence and trends.

And now onto our second presentation:

Assessing Influence on Social Media: Reputation Risk in Networks – Nathalie de Marcelis-Warin

I am going to present research with my PhD students Willias Sanger and Thierry Warin. It looks at Twitter in particular…

To start with, lets think about what happens when a flight is cancelled… we’ve all been there. You used to worry and stress… and make phone calls… That’s for the last 30 years or so. But now what do you do? You tweet! So for instance a year ago a person I follow tweeted KLM to complain about a cancelled flight… The conversation began there on Twitter. KLM actively advertise that they will respond to queries within 10 minutes. So, do they do that in practice. Well they do, they respond with a personal greeting… And the complainent responds to explain the inconvenience. And they respond with an option of flights to rebook. He selects one… they book it. And say: look out for an email! But… Then he finds that flight is rerouted/has a stopover… so Tweets again… And they look again… And he thanks them but also explains the personal context – that he is travelling to a funeral. And KLM respond with condolences. And again more flight options… They reissue ticket etc. Everything is perfect. A happy ending…

When I saw this on my Twitter – tracking that conversation evolving… And wondering why they were so good. So I looked at my friend’s account… He has 21,5K followers… so he has influence. And he tweets a lot (59K tweets). I am trying to think about influence on Twitter… And I look further and see he is the Chief Washington Correspondent for Yahoo! News [and he has the verified tick]. Which got me thinking… how do you measure influence on Twitter?

For Twitter organisations those responses are a risk. If they didn’t have an alternative flight, what would the impact have been? We tried to look at how we measure and value reputation in a networked society… Reputation is ones greatest asset in a networked society (de Marcellis-Warin and Teoderesco, 2012) but also a real source of potential risk.

Looking at our literature review and research question we were thinking about the Democratisation of the Internet – and the fact that firms are more exposed to general opinion in that space (Leavitt 2009). There is importance in monitoring and measuring reputation through social media (Warin et al 2015?).

In Twitter discussions Cha et al (2010) studied how users were connected in Twitter discussions. They found that the number of followers does not ensure effective transmission of message. And that focus on specific topics had a big impact. Influence in networks is often about where information that is useful has been previously shared.

We also see literature on Twitter content as signals for trading strategy – Sentiment analysis (Bollen et al 2011, Brown 2012, Sprenger and Welpe 2010), and volume based strategies – regardless of sentiment (Ruiz et al, 2012). And we also see that there is a real need for the structuring and analysis of big data.

So. we looked at influence in financial messages on Twitter and influence around financial information. We acquiried data from the streaming API from Twitter with R packages (Barbera 2014, Gentry 2013). We looked at 400 firms, sampled 3 times a day – just after market opened, lunch time, and at end of day. We looked at use of hashtags, @names, use of Retweets, URLs, etc. In our data we found that 75% of the time a URL is shared, but just 6% mentioned a user (with @name).

We looked at testing four measures. Firstly Number of followers… Out of my 64,000 users, I checked the most popular users and these were all media companies, posting less frequently. They do not participate in debate. They don’t use $name to indicate stock listing.

Looking at number of messages sent… We had users tweeting most frequently, all of whom were stock news sites or automated feeds. The volume of messages suggests spam… Unusually access. This tells us that the power-law distribution is here – a few loud ones vs an important silent crowd.

Next we looked at different users retweeting someone. So the most retweeting account we see another stock website. But in this table we see our first individuals – two individuals receiving lots of retweets in amongst the popular media and website users. And those individuals are more engaged in conversation.

And, having done this, we next mapped the network of our 64000 users. We could identify our key users in this data. In terms of influence we see influencers associated with the media, and they are genuinely enmeshed in the wider network. But there was another group of influential people who were quite isolated – if they disappeared their impact on the network would be minimal but no one would take up that conversation.

We also looked at betweenness centrality – the probability of being on the shortest path between 2 nodes…. And our most influential individual is neither in the conversational/outsider group, or in the media group, they were in the middle of the much bigger network. So if we use network analysis we see apparition of individuals – traders, analysts, managers, journalists. They are really important in the network. And they are not widely followed on Twitter. And they capture information is not shared by or provided to all users – versus the accounts of the financial media.

Influence measure is more complicated to obtain than just considering the number of followers of a user. There is a real importance of key users in the network. And we see the importance and influence of the retweeter in the network.

That most influential person was a financial journalist… But the idea of many tweets, many followers, is a poor signifier for influence on the financial markets – everyone else already has that information.

Q1) Is the new Retweet style on Twitter a recognition of this type of influence? Or might it change it?

A1) Yes, a recognition.

Q2) So how do you find influential individuals?

A2) It’s not easy to find these people… You start with $, then hashtag… but if you then assess by number of followers or tweets that isn’t helpful. They really are quite hard to find, but valuable to follow when you do find them.

Q3) Did you look at relationship between stock market price and Twitter content?

A3) It is part of my PhD student’s work… He is looking at content analysis. In some cases you see correlation between negative comments on stock price. So, for instance Apple Watch all very positive… little impact. But a negative comment here didn’t have a significant impact. But for Nestle, Greenpeace attacked them on Twitter… Had bad and negative comments and there the number of negative tweets and comments had an impact on the stock! Greenpeace did a lot to do that but it had a definite impact.

Q4) You also mentioned effectiveness of forcasting and credibility of forecasting… I am cynical about that, having worked in various brockeridges.

A4) We know we can have a bad forecast, and thats ok perhaps. But with social media it is difficult. But experts and financial experts have credibility and it is interesting that what they forecast often includes what they put on social media and Twitter now.

Q5) Are financial houses using individuals on social media to influence the market?

A5) We found some publication on fake accounts… For companies and politicians you see that a lot.. It is a good point and we want to think about that too. But for our work, number of tweets as a proxy for influence is not useful from what we have seen. Influence and retweeting path is much more important. More important to be in the middle of the network, than to be a busy Twitterer.

Managing your Digital Footprint: Possible implications for teaching and learning – Me!

And then it was me! My prezi can be found here: https://prezi.com/owkosbca4bio/ecsm-2015/. My full paper, coauthored (as was the presentation) with Louise Connelly, will shortly be available to read here: http://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/nicola-osborne(31541751-0108-4687-af50-bc01e043567b).html

And now, to lunch…

And we are back for our second keynote…

Keynote Presentation: Dr Piet Kommers, University of Twente, The Netherlands – Vicarious Identity in the Networked Mind

I am very pleased to be here. Portugal has a place in my heart, I feel it is a place where you see a really interesting connection between rural, historical, even colonial aspects.

I will be talking about vicarious identity. And identity is about who we are but also about who we want to be and how we wish to present ourselves to the world. So my title indicates my intrigue in this topic. I will make some small steps to come to the thesis…

In general in terms of media we are very much intrigued by the potetial of what the media can do. We have two aspects… the Media have the cultural side – there is our ettiquette of what we should and should not to. But we also have our nature, things which are hard to change, aspects we have inherited and don’t change as quickly as the media does. And those aspects raise challenges for social media company. But many of those less appealing or problematic aspects are also parts of our survival mechanism – learning is a fairly modern concept really. Th emedia is a catalyst for our minds, for doing more than our minds might have done before, and before a multicolutural society, and we have to learn from that.

And we now have the mobile phone almost as prothesis… 50 years back we had no idea how the propogation of mobile devices would go… I gave a talk a while back called “before the lecture starts, please turn on your mobile phone” for teachers – and that was an important provocation for them – so many ways mobile can enhance the classroom with links, QR codes, associated information etc. And we also now see these tools as a way to bring people closer to government, to EU government. The technology helps us to be human… but also exposes us. If we do a naughty thing, it will be tweeted!

We have for a long time in history had two sides to media… So an image here has three lessons for life. If we have learning in mind, we have the idea that nature is good. And we have to build the programmes… and coach each other, to help each other to become good citizens. And we also have the idea of the Panopticon, and the fact that it doesn’t work (Bentham’s Panopticon by Kenneth Wain). Seeing is not the same as knowing. But having information available enables us… it is not just the commitment, but also the connection to our neighbours.

The early social media was 17th century- magic lightshows…. You could see spectacle but the people also gathered and shared ideas. That gathering is part of what makes this a fascinating thing to be part of. We do have risks of social isolation… But a snapshot of commuters reading their papers tells us this is not wholly new as a concern. Access, knowledge, awareness is improving and that is good. But that’s not everything… To trigger that we have an image to analyse… of farmers apparently growing or digging up sky scrapers in a field… Cue a wonderful bit of audience interaction… some really different perspectives…

So, there is a lot of ambguity. In learning we say “be clear” but in education being clear is not neccassarily what we do. Ambiguity is useful… And now another one…. an image of  a train going in circles… about a proposal to lay a second high speed track… So this picture – which we have interpretted many ways – is making a case for safety.

So, my first thesis is that identity is between rather than within the persons… What is identity in a small community… identity is really informed by comparison to others’ identities,to different cultures… So to think about: what is it about identity that matters for you.

So, kooking at Engestrom, Miettinen and Punamaki (199) an dtheir perspective on activity theory work (see slide from Sheve Wheller University of Plymouth 2013) frames this as being about rules and division of labour, and the role of technology, identity, learning and community… With perspectives on the role of tools of thinking, tools etc. (Vygotsky, McLuhan, Cooper quotes here to illustrate).

If we talk about privacy, and privacy we have lost on the internet is nothing compared to the Internet of Things. If we don’t change things, the next generate will be so transparant – big brother has nothing on this. There are marketing elements but also government, political and ideological discussion to be had here. But where is the moment of design? In design, egovernment etc… When the technology is here it is already decided and done… But we have decisions we can make. Not all devices/ideas are to serve a purpose… We try things out and these things become part of our life. So where is the moment of design here? What are the conceptual stages in design? This is a messy process, not top down… It’s about who we want to be, what do we like, what are our values…

The problem we have is that we have a lot of tools, a lot of production design, we have some detailed design, but we don’t have conceptual design tools – some like concept mapping maybe – but we need special sessions to think ahead of the technology, of the new ways to live together. This is a discrepancy. It’s not just the learning, the participation in society… but until recently we had the idea of “learning by heart”… this came from the idea of the heart as the soul…. whilst our thinking has moved on… learning by heart is not the actual process. Instead we have learnt to look through the material… It is about a critical mindset and understanding information from that perspective. We have a fisheye lens if you like – we nknw a lot… about EU matters, about earthquakes in the himalayas, all of the news from across the world… But the issue is what are you interested in… People don’t buy a second car now, they save for children’s education, or for international travel… We are thinking avot the future of life, as part of our identity…

If you look at a map of Finland from FinAir, you’d think it was the central to the world. If you see a postcard from Sofia, again it’s the centre. None of that information is wrong, but the context, the centre isn’t right.

We see cognitive styels that vary… You have the serialist – staying in depth in one area, and holists – picking from all sorts of different areas. We did some research and found that holists have a less good memory.. that’s a disadvantage at first but that means making connections, it becomes an advantage as the learning may be deeper.

Seeing a diagram showing the process of buying and selling a house in Netherlands (150 transactions involved!) – here we have procedural knowledge, episodic knowledge, epistemic knowledge (e.g. is Bistro a French word? No, it’s a Russian word dating back to th eNapoleonic wars and wanting food faster and faster), conceptual knowloedge…  So anyway this drawing is a helping assistant. There is a Jeudaic ideas of Portaelvcis of dinformation being brought down and organised. Schematic diagrams are useful but only if they reach the balance between comlexity and simplicity… For example a concept mapping diagram, based on a graph computation… That’s a computation for social networks. So you might think of social networks in epistemic terms, or in network terms.

We know from the London Underground map that position isn’t important = this is not an accurate scale map… The global view is correct… But in KM it is not corect at all. Schematics are a reduction, a simplification. Similar diagrams of travel infrastrcture give the same idea.

In terms of vicarious learning – another diagram. Here we have intersecting circles: learning obuzhenia (how do we change ourselves); working robot; playing igrat. We know there is connection between playing and learning. Playing is a way to open up thinking… A space to experiment. What is the link between playing and working? Or are they opposites? [cue lots of interesting discussion which in our wee group brought in elearning and playing, gamification, the idea of work and play as being very interlinked, and the fact that not everyone works in such a way where they have the privilege of play] And again we are hearing from the audience…

Maybe playing is a new ingrediant for working? Play can be rewarding.. that is lucky to have in your work. Playing is an ice breaker, a way to not know the outcome or what will happen… And about playing as fun. One member of the audience: “I read recently that humans will do everything they can to avoid work!” to which our speaker says “people trying to have fun successed? “Well I think that Bill Gates is having a great time, so I think the people who are playing are more successful.

Looking at Bhattacharya’s diagram we see a variety of learning styles…

So,  I have been able to be a visiting professor in Japan. There, after an exam, they have fun, cook food, hav ea party. One of the places I visited, the Future Univerity in Hannuken has an environment without lecture theatres, with collaborative spaces… already preparing students for the professional world.

We have a change in our model here… from research then filtered through media to others. Right now we have empowered consumers and much more diversity, which means they are the lab… That is good in terms of saving costs for corporate players… I am a violin player… That is my corner… finding new material, interests, opportunities, wouldn’t have been possible 50 years ago, but now we can each find our niche….


Q1) It is a very interesting topic… but early on you showed the vicarious identity… Can you build the bridge between that and this model, this changed model…

A1) Let me do it in terms of this picture (Japanese students having their post exam party). I see this as two elements. Social as being aware of common needs, and also keeping our identity too. Common needs is difficult for identitity – since that is about change for conformity. But this image is about allowing students to escape. Many teachers see social media as being separate from teaching ad learning… That’s partly about identity of teachers, and of students. Do we have to sacrifice identity in education? OR do we have to rethink identity.

In those changing diagrams in my later slides we see the community describing their needs, rather than industry deciding their needs for them…

Q2) In those diagrams you are showing a new way to communicate… are we moving from identity to new ways to communicate.

A2) I think that when we look at the mechanism her, we see a process of co-creation emerging. HP designing copiers, printers etc… They can’t do full ethnographic study. Customers only know their needs when they have a tool. I brought a scanner for book pages… but when I did that, I found my phone camera works best… I kept it as a souvenir of this failed/changing laboratory… And being aware of that change we see a whole new view of life… Patients define end of life care and descide choices, healthcare providers no longer do that for them. And we have manufacturers creating devices that fit into that elderly care etc. too.

And we are now back to parallel sessions… I am in the Social Media in Teacher Education – chaired by Anabele

Building Connections: professional online presence and learning networks – Dianne Forbes, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

I wanted to plant a few seeds, share a few aspects that are discussed in more depth in the paper… and do follow up for collaboration etc. I am from a small city in New Zealand in Hamilton, Waikato is the University, and also the name of the area – we are a cow town essentially! I work in the faculty of education – I teach people who are teachers or who want to be teachers.

I’ve been teaching online for 13 years and I love that, that’s my favourite way to teach. But I wrote this paper after several years of thinking about online learning and professional learning. I have called this Professional Online Presence – but I’ve also heard reference to identity, to eprofessionalism etc. today. And I am also very interested in online networks and personal networks.

What I’m interested in is these teachers who we are training, and how we can encourage them to create a professional online presence that will develop their own learning, at university, but also life long professional learning. I have been carrying out a few experiments. We started with Twitter – to broaden undergraduate social media tools… But we have branched out into Instagram, eportfolios, and we have tweet chats and tweet meets. And we collate information to encourage students to think about the world beyond the course and the learning space (we use Moodle). Twitter is interesting because most of us use it as a public space… One of the most successful parts is the following, sharing, replying ad so forth.

From looking at teacher education I have been working with colleagues to look at professional online presence, and how that might apply in other professions and disciplines. So I am curious about engineers, scientists, business administration, leadership etc. So I have started a new project across all 8 faculties within our university… That work is still in progress!

According to the literature social media is useful for sharing content. But I think the other affordances of discussion and collaboration that are really important to learning networks and personal learning. The collaboration and communication is as important if not more so than the information.

The challenges and risks of social media include the time required to make good use of these channels, to make them valuabl; the privacy risks; and the integrity. From the literature my own explorations have shown me that it is nice to have the choice of asynchronous and synchronous discussion and collaboration. For student support syncronous channels can be hugely important – a tweet chat or tweetorial can really help for instance. Additional challenges and risks that I have encountered: just getting started can be a huge thing, putting yourself out there for the first time… And knowing what to do, who to follow… And students now saying they are struggling to move beyond habitual use of Facebook for strictly personal use. They aren’t comfortable doing that but I explain that learning shouldn’t always be comfortable, it needs to be challenging too. Those discussions enable us to discuss what the difference between personal and professional behaviours are, but of course effective teaching and learning is a sociable process too.

In Mauri we have the word “Apo” and that means to learn AND to teach and that idea that every teacher is a learner, and every learner is a teacher is important. One of my students commented on this, and her desire to be an open minded teacher, just as she had been an open minded leaner.

The other aspect here is that students will need to participate in learning networks to stay on top of their fields of interest and to advance their careers (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p. 135). There is a lot of demand for PD/CPD but you can’t always send everyone on a course, nor can you run courses all the time. That sharing, discussion, personal development should just be part of what we do all the time. You google, you follow the trail… For instance my ICT support colleagues tell me 80-90% of queries they get could be answered by Googling – because you either find a solution or a community that has already encountered that problem.

So the idea of POP (Professional Online Presence) is that students think about the goal of their presence, the ethics of that, their identity, and ways to be visible and be visible in positive ways – particularly as para professionals looking for placements and posts. There is a code of ethics for teaching staff – there have been some bad behaviours so that will be replaced with a code of conduct very soon. Some of us are trying to change that – partly through that positive visibility. And this is about reputation – not what we shouldn’t do, but what we should be doing too. And it is also about harnessing power.

Then the idea of LN (Learning Networks) are about using the community, about adaptive help-seeking, pro-active, mentors, and new learning environments.

So for my traineers I set them a POPLN challenge, which requires them to select a tool to begin with, any free online social networking tool will do. They need to find that tool, establish a profile, explore the use for professional networking ad learning, find out how others use it, reflect on the potential for future learning and help seeking, share some of those thoughts on Moodle forum, responding to peers in the Moodle forum. This was optional and open, now more structured including writing a proposal, having a chat, and reporting back at the end. I have tried to make sure it is tied to marked work.

Seeing a student’s response to this challenge we see her identifying the expansion of her community of practice and the importance of that – all of our students spend one day in a placement.

And finally, on a related note, I am editing a special issue of elearning and digital technology on Twitter in education. And also a forthcoming book. Digital Smarts is a free CC licensed eBooks which is a collection of 10 chapters on how people in my institution are using digital technologies in their learning and teaching – including library and elearning support staff.


Q1) I don’t teach myself but I think that this is a really interesting aspect. But I was really interested in your use of the “affordance” of twitter to discuss. And that interests me… because research on Twitter finds that it is not useful for fruitful rich discussion, it enables it through links… But not for discussion.

A1) My doctoral work was about asynchronous online discussion in Moodle and how to enrich that, what students expect of each other and how students and staff talk past each other… Some of that work has leaked out to Twitter. I was talking about something controversial last week, someone had shared a newspaper column… and we had a chat.. And someone else hopped in and it was hard to argue… We agreed to go away and blog about that… then share. Twitter isn’t a panacea for discussion, but a way to alert people to discussion in other spaces. For some undergraduates, who need some pastoral support, it is useful to be there for them on Twitter… We can video cast etc. as well but Skype for instance is no good for 200 students. We have an asynchronous hashtag that continues… This year I kept last years hashtag… and students have used that to look back again… That’s cool – a legacy approach to what is happening…

Q2) A couple of the things you said intrigued me… On Pop and lifelong learning. My research focuses on professional service firms and the development of professionals, and young professionals in particular. And in many cases that is about formal professional mentoring/certifications and accreditation. I was curious about your lifelong learning take on that… Are you aware of recent research on using social media

A2) Will Richardson and Macabelli work for instance. But sometimes people treat professional learning like schooling – you go because you have to. But when there is something they really want to know, when real motivation in real life they find other ways… How can we apply those to professional learning. Some of the most successful, in computer programming and gaming etc… they are self taught, “self-made” – people who can figure it out, rather than waiting for someone to teach it. Teaching is more than knowledge transmission these days – the successful people are the ones that proactively figure that stuff out.

Q3) This call for papers… There was an issue in The Learning Organisation and Workplace Learning… In organisation science some of these issues are already being looked at.

Examining the influence of social media-infused teacher education courses on pre-service teachers first teaching practices – Paula Charbonneau-Gowdy, Universidad Andrew Bello, Santiago, Chile

We are all here because we believe that knowledge is power. Historically there were real barriers to accessing information and knowledge, that hasn’t totally disappeared but increasingly that information is being made more available. Increasingly knowledge and learning is about social construction of learning (see Vygotsky 1981).

From a socio-cultural perspective we are seeing that social media provides one of the most efficient ways to enable this. And we also see the practice of “mass socialisation” and activism (Clay Shirky, date?). But whilst we see that happening, we are not seeing education changing so quickly. So what is missed when education doesn’t change quickly enough. And we see people asking whether institutions have any value (Hon 2015). Wetzel et al (2014) compares this to being like “waiting for the ocean liner to turn”.

So we are looking for sustainable and relevant chance. Social media has the power to do that (O’Donnell, 2011). But many teachers have personal experiences and beliefs that makes change hard (He and Cooper 2011). Now I work in Chile, and we are quite isolated from the rest of the world in many ways. We have a huge economic divide – 10% have access to good quality education and that means there are regular education protests, demanding better. And Chile also has one of the lowest productivity levels of OECD countries.

We based our study on Bourdieu (1991) Social Reproduction Theory, and Social Identity as Dynamic (Nyordic 2011?). And Weeners Identity Theory is also important to my work in Chile. There is also a TPAG (technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) model that suggests that there must be connections between technology, content and pedagogical knowledge. Earlier studies found stand alone training isn’t adequate for sustainable change. So how can a four year pedagogic programme impact on the teachers practice. So I wanted to see those teachers in context, taking qualitatitive research approach in order to enable us to explore a complex context.

So this work was undertaken with 16 pre-service EFL teachers in their final semester. At Private university in Santiago Chile. and these students had has social media training and exposure as part of their training. Full details of the research are included in my full paper.

Several things occured… There are power structures in learning with social media. Even if teachers wanted to use it for learning, wifi and internet can be a limiting factor. And there are also tight deadlines and transportation issues that limited access and time. Cellphones are banned in the classroom in Chile – but students do use these spaces for information, facebook, as a distraction from boring classes). But students also use it to practice English.

There were also challenges in the teaching practice context. The mentors’ teachers views meant limited opportunities for learning through model – they feared loss of control over the learners. These teachers didn’t want trainees to use technology, nor did they want to use it themselves. That included videos, songs, etc.

And there was also a teacher education context here – participants spoke disparagingly about the use of social media tools by instructors. TEchnology use was limited to information transfer, Facebook for information management. Blogs were used for submissions but comments were not encouraged. One participant commented that that modelling was only from a few teachers, mainly from peers/friends.  And we also saw teaching students keen to use technology but not enough initiative to change their practice around that…

So a new teacher might use a video, but not in a constructivist way, just to present information. And novice teachers also spoke about their marginalised position as outsiders in the mentor teachers classroom in terms of change, pedagogy etc. They were not able or willing to take risks of any kind.

So there were power structures in the education process but also in their practice teaching sessions that disadvantaged and did not support or incentivise use of social media. SO we can’t fix this issue with a training course… we need the education faculty, the teacher mentors, those in decision making and leadership roles to support that. We see social media as a valuable tool in helping to make those changes.


Q1) I have been connected with education for a long time… There is journey from computers to web to web 2.0. Perhaps going from very little, jumping onto social media is maybe too big a step all at once? Societies putting lots of money in IT and education still not ahead despite that, so interested in that. Would introducing students to that history be useful?

A1) I’ve been working on social media type tools in education since 2000. Chile seemed so behind the times… Still very traditional, didactic, teacher fronted structures. But we can’t afford not to jump those steps! I think the technology infused model works. My students used all sorts of social media tools over three semesters – there was a mark involved, it was a safe space… They were very open to do that. The class is very learner driven… But they would use the social media tools to teach. But as soon as they went back to the classroom they would fall back to the textbook teaching… And this country has to change.. But it’s all about identity. Mentor teachers make them feel they will be judged and marked.

Q2) For teachers unhappy with using social media, are there special suggestions or examples etc. to use that…

A2) This is very context specific but… My students live in a very narrow world because of their geographic location, my message to them is to reach out, to be global citizens… We talk about global issues and use social media in that… But then the rest of the course students are responsible for doing their own global issue – they have a theme because of the university’s role… They have a lot of flexibility, and a model to use… At the same time that that is going on they have to discuss, share, engage beyond the classroom, connecting constantly via social media. I get them using it!

Q3) Your limitation is about the structure… If they don’t follow the plan and don’t follow the book they fear failing evaluation – a problem that I see as well… Those structures and standard models means that those innovative practices cannot be used in practice, even when teachers are keen.

A3) I’m not alone, right! But I was invited to be there at the university, but they do listen to me so I have opportunities there… But they do say the mentor teacher won’t let me do this. My research suggests we have to work as a community to change that… But I think there is a possibility for change. They have asked me in another campus to come and start a dialogue to connect with social media too, to share that experience, those practices etc… to share this… The other thing we have done is that I saw a resistance by teacher educators to change, so I decided to do this by changing the assessment – moving into something different. I ran some workshops, sent around articles, technology etc… They were a few weeks but that built interest and collaborative assessment writing in a new way. And when testing time came I could see that teaching had changed dramatically to reflect that new assessment.

Q4) Those mentor teachers who are risk averse – it sounds like that may not just be about technology but much bigger, and perhaps that is partly also about historical experience in Chile?

A4) Teachers in Chile are very poorly paid. They work 45 hour a week, teach 42 hours. No prep time, not well respected… They just want to get the job done… I have worked with teachers, and masters teachers… Some do take that step but there is such resistance in that class to what I’m talking about… I get horrible resistance from teachers who are working in this system… Until they have more support it will be a long road to change. But I will finish with this comment: I work with maybe 25 teachers in one course… But in their first year teaching they will teach 150-200 students… So any impact there that’s huge! But it’s one step at a time…

And now I am heading to the Adoption and Influences of Social Media (chaired by Stephen Burgess)

Social Media as New Arenas for Intangible Cultural Heritage – Severo Marta, University of Lille 3, France

So, what is intangible cultural heritage? Well it is a terminology defined by UNESCO, which covers everything from craft and busilding processes, falconrya also, carnivales and cultural events, etc. Many linked to dance, craft, languages… the common points are that there are people who recognise these objects as part of their cultural. So we can use this idea only if that community is there, and recognising that practice.

There are three inventories – the Representative list of intangible cultural heritage; the list of intangible cultural heritage at risk and ?

Countries can put forward an object for recognition, but it must have the support of the community. And we can look at the mapping of the communities and networks – for the ICH in France for example. So, having recognised these practics how do we preserve these objects? Tools that are suitable for transcribing oral history have some relevance but there is huge potential of new technologies. So you have for instance the i-treasures.eu prohect, using advanced technologies to capture movement of dancers, craftspeople, technician. We have motion bank as well… For transmission they are perfect… But how can they facilitate community? Are they just a new way to freeze the data? So we need a new approach suitable for this sort of engagement.

We want a decentralise networked, collaborative, adaptive, ephemeral and dynamic space – and social media provides opportunities for this (Urecchio 2012).  Indeed there are soe important similiarities between social media and ICH. Even its basic definition (boyd and ellison 2007) has parallels with the way that one must articulate the comunicate and describe it in order to register an ICH.

The second example to highlight is the interactive and shared structure of social media is expeceted to match the living and continisly evolving nation of ICH (Benkler 2006) – social media are empoweremnt tools for communities.

So we proposose two types of intervention with social media….

1) An external authority provides community members with a way to preserve ICH

ichscotland.wiki.org – Scotland is not a state so cannot propose ICH to UNESCO. The project started in 2009… And it captures living culture, and there are campaigns, fpcus groups, and a wiki is created. Another example is the official wiki for the republic of Korea (ichpedia.org) so you can use the content but specific people update.

2) You go to a platofrm that communities already use to preserve ICH

So for example YouTube captures dance practices – but how you distinguish what is officially recignised, and what is not or is not authentic. There is no way to limit to an official inventory.

So, we undertook a case study, implementing both strategies. We did this for the Luminara Feast in Pisa, which takes place on 16th June and people put small lights in their window so the whole city lights up – various traditions. So the major wants to put this forward… But how do you define the community? And what are the shared practices? The city isn’t specific enough… So we set up a website (Candidiama La Luminara), a simple website which allowed people to express what Luminara is for them, the history, the practices, the people participating, a Google Map that people can add to. This is deliberately a simple approach so that it is accessible to all. And we set up a Wiki for sharing the nomination information. We had some focus groups and also a Facebook page which is also generated some interaction.

So, as a conclusion social media is a new arena for ICH – there is real complementarily between oral cultures and social media. There are two types of areas for this: ad hoc platforms (official inventories) vs popular platforms (informal inventories). And as there is a real issue for cultural heritage to engage young people, we also think these spaces have real opportunities to engage them.


Q1) Veery interesting. I was curious that you mentioned this semi official UNESCO inventories… I can see the benefit of recording this stuff, but how does UNESCO see this sort of activity – this use of social media

A1) I worked at UNESCO a few years back. I think they didn’t forecast this type of use so they have no policy on this… UNESCO is overloaded by nomination process, see this as a problem at the moment so no policy yet… They first went for official presences rather than YouTube, but they cannot go back… But this stuff is positive…

Q2) Can I just ask about the difference betwen the wiki and Facebook – before the talks we talked about librarianship and records management and the care for cultures these days… You had some interest at the start, and on Facebook… Would you then take that and put it on the wiki later on?

A2) No, we cannot be integrated but can suggest to people to post in both places. But we don’t do it.. The big problem between the two is that wikis are difficult for many people to use… Facebook are very user friendly to do…

Q3) I’d just like to comment that I’m shocked that UNESCO doesn’t recognise what is happening in 2015, and the research and impact that these spaces are having… Are there ways of raising this issue.

A3) My PhD is on cultural heritage… the problem is about money, not about resistance. If you look at decisions website is mentioned all the time – it is the official provider of information since 2006… But they are overloaded. But we have a conference coming up, an annual one, on ICH, and this year it will be on use of digital tools.

Q4) Has there been work to apply crowdsourcing tactics to this issue. Particularly thinking about some of the communities that you want to reach – traditional/older people passing on knowledge?

A4) Yes, there are established crowd sourcing approaches that work for cultural heritage – offline as well as online. But I’m also not saying social media works for all kinds of ICH preservation of course.


Predicting Influence of User’s Twitter Activity – Instzar Ali Lashari, The Mersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, University of Southern Denmark

I will be talking about a case stufy from Pakistan, and that was data collected with API, then a process with an analytics app, and a tool I developed myself. And also talking about data based on hashtags from the data.

So I started by focusing on helping investigators looking at and processing information about political demonstration, terrorist or criminal activities. The objective is to analyse open data collected from online social networks where users post. We were concerned about ethical issues which is why we chose to focus on publicly available data, via the open Twitter API. We analysed 24,000 tweets on PTI anti-government mass protests in Pakistan. And from that I extracted the most important hashtags and performing sentiment analysis on the tweets associated with them.

Some of the issues and challenges that arose in analysing this data is that most NLP (Natural Language Processing) tools are for English language text, but this was not going to be a set of tweets in English, or not primarily in English. So I identified some tools and adapted some tools. I created a simple CBTA data model that drew Twitter data via the Streaming API, the Search API (the easiest and most accessible API), and the Current Trend API (woeid). Then I did the text processing (NLTK) which assigned the text either positive, negative, and neutral ratings… Also extracting the Tweets count/retweeting counts, the Twitter user (profile information).

So my tools make the user/tweet id available… And the NLTK using Indian has been used to do this analysis… Collecting data is easy… Around the hashtags from the data I captured were various cities/areas/placenames etc. Some were mentioning other countries – UK, UAE, USA etc. And also I got a snapshot of positive, negative, or neutral status.

From this work, I identified search keywords and hashtags for PTI Protests – a cluster of the most common terms. And those hashtags can then be looked at in terms of sentiment, and visualised. And from this work I have developed my own simple algorithm for measuring influence on Twitter. This is capturing the net effect of users’ Twitter activity – looking at sentiment in particular.

There are lots of ways to undrestand influenc eon Twitter. Yang and Counts (2010) found that mention @username in th etweets is more influential on the twitter network than the follower of the tweets. So they say that influence can be measured by mentions – and that is based on marketing strategies.

Korean 2012 presidential election found that twitter can be effective tool for the changes around social issues.

There has been a tremendous explosion in the aount of data generated, and often different groups exploit social media reports to suite their vested interests (Best 2011) – including product makers, politicians, etc. This is another persective for the use and implications for Twitter influence and how it may be used..

So, the API is very easy to use for data collection. I have learned in this project the colletion, processing, and R Studio for presentation all helpful.

So, in my analusis we found that a large majority of the tweets collected on the subject expressed positive sentiment followed by a section of neutral tweets and a large number of the most popular tweets as indicated by their favourite and retweet counts were positive. That indicates a particular cross section of political views were being represented on Twitter.

In future I would like to do some work on authentication of users Twitter accounts. And also to categoraise the Twitter tweets – from Media people, politicians, and fake accounts. Differentiating about that.


Q1) My understanding is that the Twitter API is a partial snapshot/ a version of Top Tweets, so is there perhaps a potential that your data and finding of positive sentiment is related to how Twitter prioritises interesting content?

A1) I used the search API and that gives 7 days so it is the best coverage of tweets as possible…

Q2) How do you determine sentimant here?

A2) That is through natural language processing, and that is largely a reasonable assesment of the content. But using other algorithms and approaches could be done. My work is my use of some of the (many) available approaches.

Q3) You are measuring influence – but how you define influence?

A3) My take is to see who are being supported, retweeted, positive tweets etc.

Q3) There is a lot of work in psychology on influence that could be used with your work – working with someone in psychology and social science to better interpret context… I think that’s what may be missing at the moment.

A3) You are absolutely right…

Q4) I was wondering the NLTK – presumably a list approach of positive and negative terms?

A4) There is a database there of indian terms. These are text mining tools already in place. There are different models here…

Q4) I also wanted to connect that to how you define positive, negative, neutral – normally you would annotate that, check that, and use things like sentistrength, ways to benchmark that data etc. See if similar or different… Wondering about validity of positive/negative approaches.

Comment from chair/Q5) I probably learned a lot from the questions! So I will probably bring the quality of questions down… Your paper is called predicting influence, this seems to be describing…

A5) Well it is a model… But these comments are right, I should have psychological and social science aspects.

Q6) I liked how you decribed how you pulled the data together, using your own algorithm… But my comment would also be on your methodology – what is your theoretical context?

A6) I am only working on collection of data, methodology is only based on API… Influence is using that but my research is on the data collection.

And, as there is no third speaker in this strand I have hopped over to the  Mini track on Social Media Technologies for Learning and Teaching (Chairs: Johannes Konert and John Knight) for…

Lessons Learned From Four Years of Using Social Media to Support Transition to Higher Education – John Knight, Rebecca Rochon and Becci Hailey, Bucks New University, High Wycombe, UK

John: Why use social media? Well many of our students are transitioning into higher education from less traditional backgrounds, perhaps lower socio-economic groups… Social media seemed like an ideal tool to help address this, particularly as many of our students are already keen users of these spaces. But they enable interaction, peer support, community building.

So, we created our own social media community using Ning. There were lots of communication tools – very rich, very lovely. Students set up profiles. And they did what you would expect – some customised their profiles, presenting themselves in different ways… We ran it like that for about 3 years. But we have just switched approach from bespoke platform to existing tools, and a whole range of them: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest. We wanted to try Google+ but that was more of interest to staff than students as it turned out!

This work is integrated into other transition initiatives – our main programme is called “Bucks Welcome” and this will be “Bucks Welcome Online”.

So I wanted to reflect on what we have done over the last few years… About connect (social, practical and academic), staff use, barriers, privacy and issues around that, management.

If we are going to use social media in educational contexts, it is easy to forget we are using social media, and focus on what we want to give students. But in order to do that we have to be social, and exploiting the affordance of the social media spaces we are using. We forget that at our peril. The key thing we have learned is that if we are using social media tools. you actually have to use them for social networking. We forgot initially… We set these things up but not one student engaged as they were nothing to do with social interaction – we were in transmission mode. When we refocused on interactions, that was hugely successful.

So the main thing students are interested in as they come to university is finding friends. The social aspect is absolutely fundamental. Many of our initial conversations were about social interactions and enabling those in a multitude of ways. Almost nothing to do with learning at all, about making friends… But that is fundamental and important.

The next thing was dealing with practical issues… How to cook meals, how the university works, who to talk to about money issues, what they should bring with them… And we had an interesting theme emerge in our latest incarnation – about Toga parties!

Becci: When I first joined it was as a student. We don’t have a Freshers week, we have a Freshers fortnight! The toga party is a major draw and we had Facebook page, updates, count downs and, because of the increased number of dyslexic students we also promoted it via more visual platforms – Instagram, Pinterest etc.

John: Interestingly the use of multiple platforms means you can connect between those platforms – e.g. tweeting a photo that has been shared on Instagram.

So for us as academics we set up things we thought would be great but students didn’t seem keen. But there were other areas where students were very proactive – preparations for class, softwares, equipment, etc. But it was very subject related and dependent on tutor/academic presence from that environment. Where there was real interaction around teaching and learning that required presence from the tutor but also genuine engagement there, including the use of pictures and appropriate informal staff presentations.

Being authentically available and present, enabled genuine engagement and interest from students. Those who were not there, or who presented themselves poorly (no picture, “blue face of doom”/info/availability) that engagement was a non starter. So a finding for us was around staff using these spaces appropriately in order to actually make this useful for the students.

In terms of barriers… All the staff we talked to were very keen, very enthusiastic… But despite that they also stayed away in droves. Relatively little staff engagement and interactions. We went back to ask about that. They cited time, they talked about a form of initiative fatigue – there is lots of interest in transition in our institution and people saw it as another thing they needed to do. They didn’t know what to do – despite available support etc. And there was also the issue that transition work occurs in the summer – when staff are less engaged due to holidays etc. Birnback and Friedman (2009) identified some of the issues in organisational change and they identified the idea of piggy backing – not making a new initiative but adding to usual processes/familiar work.

I did want to talk about privacy issues. The literature talks about the importance, to students, of universities not intruding in their private lives. To avoid that we set up that bespoke environment, when students could choose what to share. But students seemed rather unconcerned – either they managed their concerns through settings… or they were not bothered. There were issues about staff using. And that student disinterest in those issues was part of why we are moving to mainstream tools. Bespoke spaces seen to be burdensome – another space to be.

Students are quite happy to share… But they are really resistant to being forced to do that. In Bucks we don’t manage email at all – students have an alias that directs to their personal accounts etc. Students perceive those emails as spam… They either complain or move email account… That sort of response has to be considered when you are talking about these sorts of spaces and how you do/do not encourage participation.

In terms of managing social networking projects we ran out of staff time, so we recruited students to manage that bespoke space… They had brilliant social media skills, but not as strong organisational skills. That organisation, systematic and reliable approach is central and we have learned that lesson now – which is why Becci has been doing that for us lately.



A1) John: One of the things I’ve learnt today is that we do lots of outreach to schools, physical outreach to students, to bring people in… But there is much more we can do with social media as well. Because we now use existing tools we can now reach students more easily, through their existing accounts etc. A very useful thing to be aware of.

Q2) Do you know if the work you have done has had impact in terms of preventing early exit from courses/retention. There was a handbook in 2013 about preventing school leaving was about working with students.

A2) John: Anecdotally I’d say yes, but evidence is trickier. But interactions online have translated to real friendships and relationships when they get to University. I know that had an impact. And it also increased interactions between staff and students – and in the literature that is linked to retention and learning. My sense is yes. We do know in our work in learning development we know the transition to HE and within HE… We see how that feeds into all of those areas.

A2) Becci: I had a student messaging on Facebook about a choice of course, providing guidance on fit for what she wanted meant I could advise her of which one was best fit, and she said that she may not have finished the course had she not made that choice.

Q3) Did you encounter any issues with social media around narcissm, lack of collaboration, deviant behaviour?

A3) John: No. But it’s worth being aware of what you do, when using existing environments, how do you deliver on your duty of care to the students in your institution… If someone is behaving inappropriately how do you police and respond to that? We didn’t have the experience, we would have found that problematic.

Q4) On the issue of privacy concerns – do you think this is because of a genuine lack of concern or a lack of awareness of implications of what could be shared? Might that opinion change by the time of graduation, say? So a picture of a toga party – it’s not that risky as a student but, for instance for a trainer teacher can find employment issues just for being photographed drinking – there have been some cases of that. So I’m wondering if students are genuinely not concerned, or if they are not aware enough in order to be appropriately concerned – in which case how do you handle that?

A4) Increasingly students are switched on about this… We have had one of two issues of inappropriate postings, not related to this work. Students are developing their understanding of that, particularly with employability agenda. Increasingly in the UK university is seen as preparation for work, for better or worse, and that does mean that they are increasingly aware. But that is a serious consideration: whether we should worry for our students even if they are not worried.

A4) Becci: I was interviewing students last week and a student looked at my Twitter presence and read things back to me! Nothing untoward there but it was scary in a way!

And with that, we are done for the day. I’m off for a walk in the Porto sunshine before our conference dinner, but I will be back liveblogging all day tomorrow! And keep an eye on the #ECSM2015 tweets for more from the conference.

 July 9, 2015  Posted by at 9:04 am Events Attended, LiveBlogs Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »