For the last three years Farida and Mike have been working together on a number of interdisciplinary projects recognising the need to innovate methods for studying social media across a series of disciplines. Significant work so far has included innovating methods for studying YouTube (short write up here). Most recently they took part in analysing 2.5 million riot tweets, as part of the Reading the Riots project, a groundbreaking collaboration between Twitter, The Guardian and a series of academic institutions, seeking to better understand underlying causes of the 2011 UK summer riots.
Farida Vis is a Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. Her work is centrally concerned with the challenges of collecting (social media) data, critically reflecting on data, methods, ethics and tool sharing with a specific focus on the reporting of global crises, visual culture, knowledge practices and civic engagement within different (social) media environments. She has recently developed an interest in open data and data driven journalism and has had some of this work published on The Guardian Data Blog and elsewhere. She is a co-author of the Data Journalism Handbook. Expanding her earlier work on crisis communication, a further new project is concerned with the public understandings of flu pandemics with particular focus on the role of Amazon.com as an online knowledge broker (some early comments here). Before joining Leicester in 2010, Farida was an AHRC Research Associate in Media and Religion at Loughborough University, on a project that examined how YouTube users responded to anti-Islam film Fitna released online by Dutch politician Geert Wilders in March 2008 (PI: Professor Liesbet van Zoonen, project website here). Specifically the project was concerned with how Web 2.0 technologies allow young people to express their religious and public identities online. Between 2004 and 2009 Farida was the ESRC Research Fellow in Transformations in Media, Culture and Economy at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC). Some of her work here focused on the use of controversial images in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, analyzing online discussions, specifically those on picture-sharing site flickr as well as responses to the hurricane from citizen journalists. Her PhD (2007, Manchester Metropolitan University) analysed print media representations of the ‘peace process’ within the Palestine/Israel conflict (1993-95), examining three case studies of political violence, including the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. She has presented widely on this work.
Mike Thelwall is Professor of Information Science at the University of Wolverhampton and runs the statistical cybermetrics research group at the university. He is a webometrics and cybermetrics researcher interested in developing quantitative web methods for hyperlinks, social networks, blogs, text and sentiment analysis. His books include,: Introduction to webometrics: Quantitative web research for the social sciences (2009). San Rafael, CA: Morgan & Claypool (Synthesis Lectures on Information Concepts, Retrieval, and Services, 2009, Vol. 1, No. 1). His numerous other publications (over 150 journal articles) include extensive work on social media, including the book chapter: ‘Social network sites: Users and uses’. In: M. Zelkowitz (Ed.), Advances in Computers 76. Amsterdam: Elsevier (pp. 19-73)
Free software Mike has developed includes: Webometric Analyst for link analysis and Web data mining from YouTube, Flickr, and the Web in general; SentiStrength for sentiment analysis in informal online text; SocSciBot for web crawling.