[Air-L] what do social media users think of social media monitoring?

Helen Kennedy H.Kennedy at leeds.ac.uk
Fri Mar 30 04:52:32 PDT 2012

Hello list

I sent a message to the list last year (entitled 'research with social media users about social media monitoring?') asking is anyone knew of any research with social media users about how they feel about what is done with their social media data through social media monitoring. I received a couple of expressions of interest and just one reference (thanks for these responses!): 

Crosstab. (2010). Online Reputation in a Connected World.   http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9709510

Since then, with doctoral candidate Cristina Miguel and a media monitoring company, I have put together a small project exploring this question. I include a brief description of it below. 

So this message is to ask for people to send me any references that they think we should be aware of, not just about what social media users think of social media monitoring, but anything that addresses the issues that we're interested in. Please reply off-list to h.kennedy at leeds.ac.uk and as before, we'll attempt to compile a bibliography.


Helen and Cristina

Dr Helen Kennedy
Senior Lecturer in New Media & BA Hons New Media Programme Leader
Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds
URL: http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/staff/h.kennedy 
OUT NOW: Net Work: Ethics and Values in Web Design



This project aims to explore what social media users think about social media monitoring, with particular reference to the monitoring of their own social media activity. Social media monitoring involves the application of a range of technologies to determine sentiments and opinions expressed within social media platforms about particular topics, in order to arrive at a measure of general sentiments and opinions. In recent years, the number of companies carrying out such activities has risen exponentially around the globe. In response, some cultural critics have raised concerns about the consequences of such activities, which might be seen as: a form of surveillance and affective control (Andrejevic 2011); the monetisation of friendship, feeling and intimacy (Hearn 2010); or a violation of the privacy of social media users (boyd 2010; Nissenbaum 2009). But little research has been done with social media users to explore how they feel about the possibility that the feelings and opinions they express in social media might be monitored, analysed and exploited for commercial gain. The research will take the form of three or four focus groups of approximately 8 participants, each of which constitutes a category of social media users. At each focus group, demographic information will be gathered about participants, alongside information about participants' social media use. Participants will be presented with a range of social media monitoring activities undertaken by media monitoring companies, and asked to express their views about these activities. The discussion with participants will seek to explore how they perceive their social media use, their attitudes towards privacy and intimacy in social media, and how they think about their privacy and intimacy in social media spaces.

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