What was the project challenge?
The project investigated which social media practices are successful (i.e. had influence) and why they work, to discover the ways in which activists and community groups utilise social media tools to communicate with the public. The aim was to create detailed requirements needed to establish a new community platform. In doing so, the project could ascertain and improve activists’ online presence to increase the chances of effecting positive social change.
Who were involved?
Manchester Friends of the Earth and a range of Manchester activists were involved, and coordinated into focus groups, led by Lancaster University academics from the Linguistics and English Language Department with technical support from computer scientists.
What new digital technology was developed?
From an analysis of the language used researchers came up with a set of guidelines for using digital technology and maximizing tweet influence in the social activist context. A
specification was developed for a future digital tool that could carry out such an analysis in real time, to provide immediate feedback to posters.
What are the ongoing impacts?
Academic papers are in progress and further research is developing concerning the digital specification.