shutterstock_131556587The third FREE public lunchtime seminar of The Social Scholar will be held in room 246 of Senate House (University of London) at 1pm next Wednesday (4 December).  The seminar is open to all.  Here’s a brief run down of what you can expect.  

Follow us on Twitter @SASNews using hashtag #socialscholar

The ethics of Social Media publishing: a brief introduction for researchers
Chair: Jules Winterton (Director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies)
Time: 4 December 2013, 13:00 – 14:00
Speaker: Anne Alexander (CRASSH, University of Cambridge)
Location: Room 246, Senate House (University of London)




 I think that it is better to start off by asking yourself questions about the audiences you want to reach. Are they using social media? Can you find people you want to engage with in some way on the social media platform of your choice?

The proliferation of social media platforms is changing the configuration of access to ‘the public domain’. There are still gatekeepers, whose professional roles, political influence or wealth give them a privileged position in deciding what gets published and who gets to hear about it. Yet it is also clear that the rise of social media publishing adds new layers of complexity and unpredictability to this process, particularly because the use of public social media platforms such as Facebook has become part of the fabric of everyday communication in way that blogging and other forms of online self-publishing never did, and are unlikely to do in future.

For researchers, navigating the issues raised by dealing with issues of consent and copyright in a networked world, can be challenging. In this paper I will argue that while new rules, guidelines and codes of conduct for ethical practice in the use of social media are important, and may be necessary, what is really missing is a sense of ‘everyday ethics’ in social media use. It is not good enough to devolve ethical decisions about what we do and say online to others, but we have to recover our own sense of ethical agency. As researchers, journalists, activists or just human beings in a digital world, we should work actively to reduce risk of harm to others, particularly the vulnerable, and never be afraid to speak truth to power.



Anne Alexander works for CRASSH (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities) at the University of Cambridge.  She is co-ordinator of the Cambridge Digital Humanities Network, director of the Social Media Knowledge Exchange Project and holds research interests on leadership, collective action and social movements in the Middle East, with a particular interest in Egypt, Iraq and Syria post-1945.  For full details about Anne check her profile on the CRASSH website.


About the seminar 

The Social Scholar is a new FREE series of lunchtime seminars from the School of Advanced Study, looking into the theme of Social Media. Each session includes a 20 minute presentation from an expert already using social media in the Humanities followed by discussion and Q&A.  In these sessions we hope to learn together about how to better use social media in a professional capacity and what the difficulties and issues are.  The series will look at blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media services.   Tea and coffee are provided.