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Discussing Illicit Drug Use on Social Media

The third speaker in this Social Media and Society session is Alexia Maddox, whose interest is in the study of online discussions of illicit drug use. Illicit drugs are a stigmatised topic, which has pushed discussion into more permissive spaces such as social media. In Australia, there has been a renewed push to legalise medicinal marijuana, which has increased the volume of discussions about the drug, and this provides the current context for this study.

Tracking the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election on Twitter

The next speaker at Social Media and Society is Christopher Mascaro, whose interest is in 'big data' on political communication online. Political discourse studies have traditionally been restrained by geographic and social access, and 'big data' from online activities can overcome some of these barriers; it also introduces some new limitations that must be considered, however.

Social Media in Research: From 'Big Data' to 'Wide Data'

It's the second day of Social Media and Society in London, and after a day of workshops we're now starting the conference proper with a keynote by Susan Halford. She begins by pointing out the significant impact of social media on a wide range of areas of public and everyday life. We're constantly presented with the digital traces of social media – with social media data at an unprecedented scale, telling us something about what people do with social media in their everyday lives. This is an unexpected gift, but is also causing significant concern and scepticism.

What is the quality of the data – what are they, what do they represent, what claims can be made from these data? Some social scientists are even suggesting that such data are dangerous and can affect the public reputation of the scientists and disciplines using them. Few people were experts in working with social media data when these data first arrived – we are building the boat as we row it, to use an old Norwegian saying, and we're learning about how to do so as we go along.

What Twitter Can Tell Us about Attitudes towards Privacy in Qatar

Next in this Web Science 2016 session is Yelena Mejova, whose work examines how privacy is being discussed on social media in Qatar. Privacy has a number of definitions: the right to be left alone, right to intimacy, etc. But privacy is also defined differently in different regions of the world; the dominant western definitions of privacy may not align with definitions that are prevalent elsewhere, such as for example in the Gulf region.

A First Look at the Political Uses of Quote Retweets

Next up at Web Science 2016 is Yelena Mejova, who presents a paper on the new 'quote retweet' feature that Twitter introduced in April 2015. This form of retweeting includes the retweeted tweet as a URL in the retweet, and can be used for somewhat different purposes from other forms of retweeting: while button retweets may imply an endorsement of the original message, the substantial space for including the retweeter's views in a quote retweet might be used for more critical engagement with the quoted material, for instance.

Patterns of Engagement with Journalists' Tweets in Ireland

Next up at Web Science 2016 is Claudia Orellana-Rodriguez, whose interest is in how journalists spread the news on Twitter. Journalists now regularly engage on social media platforms, but there still is only a very limited understanding of how platforms like Twitter can be used most effectively.

How Twitter Network Features Predict Users' Attitudes towards Islam

Next up at Web Science 2016 is Walid Magdy, whose focus is on social media commentary following the terrorist attacks in Paris in late 2016. Immediately after the attacks, sympathy with Paris was expressed on Twitter – but as the attacks were linked with Islamist terrorists, anti-Muslim messages also began to appear.

Social Media Campaigns to Encourage Environmentally Responsible Behaviour

The next session at Web Science 2016 is on information dissemination and engagement. It begins with a paper by Miriam Fernandez, whose focus is on promoting behavioural changes to combat climate change. Over the past years, there have been multiple social media campaigns that promote more environmentally responsible behaviours; what can these campaigns learn from theories of behaviour change, and how can these theories be translated into computational methods?

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