Using Social Media Data for Research: The Ethical Challenges

14 March 2012, 12:00 - 14:00

Seminar Room 1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road

A Cambridge Digital Humanities Network and DSpace@Cambridge seminar with Fabian Neuhaus (UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis) and Dr Sharath Srinivasan (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, POLIS).

Abstract: Fabian Neuhaus

Millions of users leave digital traces of their activities, interactions and whereabouts on the world wide web. More and more personal conversations and private messages are being shifted to these on-the-move channels of communication despite the many metadata strings attached. In recent years, the social science aspects of this data has become increasingly interesting for researchers.

Social networking services like Foursquare or Twitter provide programming interfaces for direct access to the real time data stream promoting it as free and public data. Despite signing acceptance of public rights these services have in their usage a predominantly private feel to it, creating for the user an ambivalence between voyeurism and exhibitionism.

What is the position of academic research upon using these datasources and datasets and how can academic standards be extended to cover these new and very dynamic in time and space operating information streams whilst protecting individual users privacy and respecting a high ethical standard?

In this presentation the use of digital social networks data will be discussed both from a user and from a processing for research standpoint. Examples of data mining and visualisation will be explained in detail developing a framework for working standards.

About the speaker:

FABIAN NEUHAUS is currently a research associate at the Institut Architektur at FHNW and a PhD researcher at CASA, the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL. His main research interest are temporal aspects of the urban environment in general and cyclical, repetitive temporal patterns specifically. He is working with social network data from online sources and developed the project New City Landscapes (NCL) monitoring Twitter activities in urban areas around the world.

He has been teaching at the University of Plymouth as well as the Bartlett School of Architecture. For his Masters of Science in urban design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, he was awarded a distinction. Fabian also received a Masters of Architecture from FHNW Basel, Switzerland. He has worked with architecture and urban design practices in the UK and Switzerland as well as on research projects at universities in Switzerland, Germany and the UK. He is the author of www.urbantick.blogspot.com, a top ranking blog on everything temporal urban as well as the book 'Cycles in Urban Environments: Investigating Temporal Rhythms', published by LAP, 2010 and the Springer, 2011, publication, 'Studies in Temporal Urbanism - the UrbanTick Experiment'.

Registration
The event is free to attend but registration is required.  Please use the link at the right hand side of the page to register online.