I’m interested in how social media can help us overcome the limitations of conventional academic publishing and contribute towards a more public social science. It seems obvious to me that social media offer us new-found capacities to “throw grains of sand into the well-oiled machinery of resigned complicities” and I’m enthusiastic to explore how this is so. I’m writing a book called Social Media for Academics which is due to be released by Sage in 2016. The Sociological Imagination, which I co-founded in 2010 and have since edited with Milena Kremakova and Sadia Habib, sought to explore these themes from the start. This essay I wrote with Milena explains how the project came about and reflects on the first few years of its development. I’ve written widely for the popular LSE Impact Blog and a range of guest posts for blogs interested in these topics. I’m a founding member of the editorial board of Discover Society which has used social media to provide a high profile public forum for “social research, commentary and policy analysis” that has been lacking since New Society magazine folded in 1988. I’m a research associate at the LSE’s Public Policy Group where I used to be managing editor of their popular British Political and Policy Blog. Social media also played a crucial role in the Campaign for the Public University which I co-founded with a number of others (two of whom are now editors of Discover Society) after the new coalition government announced their planned assault upon the public university.
I’m Digital Fellow at The Sociological Review where I’ve been working with contributors to the journal to develop online resources to expand upon their published papers. I manage the journal’s blog, facebook page, google plus and twitter feed. I’ve also been helping develop the journal’s support activities for early career researchers as we transition into being something much more than a journal. I’m social media associate editor for The International Journal of Social Research Methodology and an assistant editor for Big Data & Society. I’ve run social media workshops at the Birmingham School of Art and Design, Nottingham University, Lancaster University, Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, the University of London, the University of Liverpool, the British Sociological Association and all manner of departments within the University of Warwick. I’ve worked as a consultant for the Digital Change GPP at the University of Warwick, the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship at Birmingham Business School. I’ve guest lectured on these topics at City University and the Birmingham School of Art and Design. I’ve produced training resources for the University of Warwick library and I’d welcome the chance to do this for others in future! These activities have also been informed by my extensive experience as a computer-assisted qualitative data analysis consultant for the FP7 Funded MYPLACE project, the Open University, Birkbeck Department of Organizational Psychology, The University of Warwick and Keele Graduate School. I’ve also co-ordinated the social media presence of Sociology@Warwick, The Festival of Social Sciences as Warwick and the various BSA groups I’ve been a part of: digital sociology (which I co-founded), realism and social research, the postgraduate forum and the steering committee of the theory study group.
I think it’s important for social scientists to engage with the media. I’ve been featured in First Five, Wired.co.uk, Guardian Higher Education Network, Xtra.Ca, The Straits Times, The Atlantic, RTL Belgium, Glamour.com, Examiner.com, The Observer, The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada, BBC Radio 4, BBC News magazine, Newstalk, BBC 3, Warwick Knowledge Centre, The Times, Foreplay Magazine, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, Pagina 99, Metro US, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Networked Researcher, The Scotsman and Hetrozehuis amongst others. I’ve also had my writing published in Vice as part of a project I undertook with the photographer Holly Falconer. I’ve previously written widely online, most regularly for The Most Cakes and Culture Wars but for a range of others blogs as well. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how to translate social scientific ideas for more restricted channels and I hope to spend lots of my time doing this in future.