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Kick-off for the Social Media Analytics project

Representatives from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany visited UiA for the RISE_SMA-project kick-off. The purpose is to identify risks and opportunities of social media for the domains: society and crisis communication.

From the information meeting held at UiA in May. Project coordinator Tim A. Majchrzak tells about the kickoff in Germany in April. Photo: Florian Brachten.

The RISE_SMA project is funded by the EU and consists of 12 partner organisations. RISE_SMA forms an interdisciplinary, international network combining excellent scholars and practitioners to enable vigorous knowledge sharing and to develop solutions for contemporary challenges for Social Media Analytics (SMA). Participants will be looking into diverse topics from information dissemination and extraction in a societal and crisis management context, tackling both technological and social topics.

Travel opportunities

The project enables so called secondments. These are stays of typically one to three months at partner institutions to do collaborative research. PhD candidates are encouraged to participate, and the project opens up for the opportunity to visit a partner institution in the following countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Indonesia and Brazil.

Focus groups

The RISE_SMA project consists of several focus groups on social media related topics. They are categorised into “society” and “crisis analysis” topics.

For society, the focus groups are:

"Fake News and Narratives"

  • Detection of fake accounts
  • How can we assure information integrity during elections/societal crises?
  • Social media acceptance: Online and offline information dissemination
  • How to measure the number of people who support the one side or the other

"Subcultures, Closed Areas & Darknet"

  • Facebook/WhatsApp Groups
  • Not only pieces of information but subcultures
  • YouTube: Text & Video analytics
  • Irony and Humour
  • Data access is still tricky – especially groups in e.g. WhatsApp


  • Trust is dependent on the actors within a society
  • Social media and media as a whole: Can we trust the different types of media?
  • Topics: Migration, importance of narratives
  • Many social issues are country dependent: But migration might be a topic that is relevant to all of them

"Ethics, Gender, Diversity"

  • How does gender change in social media?
  • Phenomenon: Certain groups confront each other… how can this be explained by networks? Who sticks together?

"Social Movements"

  • Social movements and activism: Interchange between online and offline
  • New journalism: Different groups in society change their behaviour in different ways in the context of change of the media
  • Get insight into social groups, get to know what we can learn from them


For crisis communication, the focus groups are:

"Digital Volunteers"

  • How to bridge the last mile between the digital and non-digital world
  • Satellite images and the analysis of them
  • Modernisation of prevention teams
  • Social media as a data source (How to extract information from the data)
  • GDPR in data usage

"Media Interpretation, New Media Sources"

  • Hybrid media terrorism: Taking down content like during the Christchurch attack
  • Responsibility of the hosting platforms: How to communicate with these platforms.
  • Open contact vs pushing underground
  • Streaming, warning messages on YouTube

"Data Sources / Management"

  • Crisis communication and its impact on daily life of: People in danger and not
  • Digital divide between people who have digital devices and those who don’t

"Predictive Analytics"

  • Tension between the stakeholders of all these social media platforms
  • Importance of data and how it should be addressed. GDPR?
  • Cultural differences with regards to crisis information
  • The weight of information in regard of the person who provides it
  • The golden hour, awareness and alertness
  • The amount of emotions in social media communications

"Automated Communication / Bots"

  • Increased cooperation between organisations around the world
  • Try to recruit volunteers with social bots on social media
  • Social bots: Good bots, bad bots?
  • What are social bots doing? How are bots perceived?
  • Mathematical: Factor role models have different nodes (motivations, actors)


If you are interested, you can read more about the project.

Additionally, you may contact the project coordinator, Associate Professor Tim A Majchrzak at any time. Project participation is possible for any UiA employee with an interest in the above-mentioned topics.

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