Social media presents new opportunities and challenges for our politicians: on the one hand, the digital commons provides an unprecedented window into the electorate, on the other, it is a chaotic, raw source of data that is hard to understand and even harder to act on. Demos is currently working to build software that tries to make sense of this chaos: a digital observatory built to the needs of MPs in the UK
Demos has come together with Ipsos MORI, the University of Sussex and CASM Consulting LLP to develop more robust ways of doing social media research. Ranging from new technologies to method and ethical frameworks, the project will produce a series of papers on how social media research can be more representative and valid, can work better with other forms of research, and how it can be done in a way that is ethical and publicly acceptable.
The last decade has witnessed a dramatic increase in people using the internet to find health advice and share health experiences. CASM, in partnership with The King’s Fund, are undertaking a year-long study piloting the ability of big data analytics to collect and make use of this new citizen-generated health data. This study will explore whether this data can be exploited to identify trends, and provide useable and robust insights to help health professionals, clinicians, policy makers, and commissioners design more targeted services. This project is supported by The Wellcome Trust, and will be completed in Summer 2016.
In partnership with Facebook, Demos is mapping and measuring how speech that counters and opposes extremist narratives are shared on the social media. This one year study will be looking at six different countries around the world.
With the Association of Train Operating Companies, Demos is looking at how social media responds in the wake of serious travel accidents. CASM is building and trialling technology for emergency response: to establish situational awareness from social media, to find ways to identify, and to reach and help those affected and disrupted by the accident.
Demos is working with Human Rights Watch to understand how social media can be used to detect offline hate crime. Comparing measurements drawn from social media with data describing the offline experiences of victims of hate crime, the project aims to push forwards the boundaries of how social media research can help protect communities at risk.
Examining how far digital technologies can help the European Parliament and MEPs become more transparent, responsive and open. We are conducting brand new research on the volume and nature of online conversations about politics across Europe, and setting out recommendations for how new technology can be best applied for democratic purposes.
Demos is working with a range of technology, academic and police partners to modernise the policing of hate crime using evidence based approaches. This involves applying new analytical technologies to hate crime data, and also understanding the new digital dimension of hate crime.
The rise of the digital world is changing how people participate in political debate and activism. Demos is working with Facebook to understand what the rise of digital politics means to people: whether it draws people closer to politics, helps to inform the debate, and presents new avenues for politicians to talk to people, and for people to talk to them.