The O3C Seminars 2018–2019

Held three times per semester, the O3C Seminars provide a supportive, community-building forum for researchers to present their ideas and receive feedback from supervisors and the O3C Advisory Board members, who will participate from time to time. The O3C Seminars also occasionally feature visiting speakers from around the world. Selected events are recorded and are available via the O3C Podcast. All welcome!

Semester 1

1. Induction session involving O3C supervisory team members and PhD researchers

Wednesday October 3, 3-4pm, room WAV027 in the Wavy Top Building.


2. Introducing the EMOTIVE platform for social media analysis: a presentation by Dr Martin Sykora (CIM, Loughborough) and Dr Suzanne Elayan (CIM, Loughborough)

Wednesday November 7, 3-4pm, room WAV027 in the Wavy Top Building.


3. Visiting Speaker: Dr Rebekah Tromble, Leiden University, and leader of one of only two research projects funded by Twitter in 2018 to analyse the health of discourse on the platform, will be giving a talk at the CRCC seminar about her research project.

The O3C seminar will be 3-4.30pm, in room WAV027 in the Wavy Top Building, featuring PhD researcher mini-presentations and feedback from supervisory teams, Rebekah Tromble, and selected O3C Advisory Board members, including Rob Berkeley (BBC), Dr Emily Dickinson (Opinium Research), Julie Elliott (MP for Sunderland Central and member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee), Simon Murdoch (Hope Not Hate), Adam Wilson (Opinium Research). All welcome! 


Semester 2

1. Visiting Speaker: Professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Director of the Centre for Computational and Data Science, Syracuse University, "The datafication of the American voter and the future of mass-targeted campaigning"

Wednesday February 13, 3-4pm, room G006 in G Block (behind EHB)

Map (No. 65).

“The datafication of the American voter and the future of mass-targeted campaigning”

Targeted paid advertising through social media reached historic highs in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. In this talk I detail the efforts by the presidential candidates to use social media for what I call mass-targeted campaigning. With the increasingly sophisticated ways to advertise on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, political campaigns can more effectively engage in large-scale efforts to profile and target to increasingly intersectional voters (not just whites or women, but employed white women with children). This mass-targeting, alongside controlled interactivity through their free social media accounts, rounds out the strategic communication efforts on digital media. Campaigns increasingly are turning to social media to not only mobilize their supporters but to persuade undecideds. The challenge to our democracy is the inability for journalists, scholars, and the public to monitor mass-targeted persuasion and for scholars to predict its effects.


Jennifer Stromer-Galley is Professor in the School of Information Studies and Director for the Center for Computational and Data Sciences at Syracuse. She is an affiliated faculty member with the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies and with the Department of Political Science, and she is Past President of the Association of Internet Researchers.

Jenny has been studying "social media" since before it was called social media, studying online interaction and strategic communication in a variety of contexts, including political forums and online games. She has published over 50 journal articles, proceedings, and book chapters. Her award-winning book, Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age (Oxford University Press), provides a history of presidential campaigns as they have adopted and adapted to digital communication technologies. She is a Fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. The Fellowship supported a collaborative research project, Illuminating 2016, studying the 2016 presidential campaign by collecting and analyzing the candidates' and public's postings on social media. Stromer-Galley is Principal Investigator of a $5.2 million project called Trackable Reasoning and Analysis for Collaboration and Evaluation (TRACE) project. Funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Program Activity (IARPA), the project aims to experiment with reasoning, reporting, and crowdsourcing techniques to improve analysis. She is also co-PI on a Twitter Conversational Health grant to study various dimensions of problematic conversation on the platform, and on a WhatsApp grant to study political misinformation in Brazil. Mentoring the next generation of scholars and social entrepreneurs is something she particularly enjoys.

All welcome!

Following Jenny’s talk she has kindly agreed to hold an informal advice surgery with O3C PhD students Rachel Armitage, Catherine Baker, and Dayei Oh.


2. Visiting Speaker: O3C Advisory Board member Carl Miller, Research Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at Demos, about his new book The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab.

Friday March 15, 2-3.15pm, Room WAV011 (Wavy Top Building).

Map (no. 72).


“The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab”

Carl’s new book The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab (Penguin) describes his groundbreaking journey to track down and expose one of the most important things that shapes, guides and limits each of our lives: power.

The journey brought him face-to-face with face with a fake news merchant in Kosovo, cyber-pranksters in Berlin, hikikormori – ‘the departed’, in South Korea who only live online. Amongst the rolling hills of Berkshire, he met British Army information warriors and in Las Vegas the largest gathering of hackers in the world. He has gone on a cyber-crime raid with the police, peered into the mechanics of secret algorithms, built a bot to keep the peace on Twitter, lived in a political-technology commune (twice) and become involved in a struggle for control of an online assassination market.

He traces how a new, digital form of power has chipped away at the old, familiar places where power used to sit; scaring CEOs, forcing politicians to resign, swallowing up newspapers, eclipsing experts, and pulling down companies. For centuries, writers and thinkers have used power as a prism through which to view and understand the world at moments of seismic change.As power escapes from its old bonds, he shows us where it has gone, the shape it now takes and how it touches each of our lives. describes Carl’s groundbreaking journey to track down and expose one of the most important things that shapes, guides and limits each of our lives: power.


Carl Miller is the co-founder and Research Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos, the first UK think tank institute dedicated to studying the digital world, and is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London.

Carl writes widely about the pitfalls and promises of the digital age. His interests cover digital politics, cyber-crime, the changing nature of warfare, journalism, the rise of the hackers, the threat of hate speech, the grip of automation and how power is being reshaped. He has written for Wired, The New Scientist, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, and for a number of websites and academic journals.

He appears regularly on national and international media, including BBC News at One, News at Six, BBC Daily Politics, BBC Click, Radio 4 Today Programme, Victoria Derbyshire, BBC World, GMT, Trending, BBC Radio Scotland, Good Morning Scotland, BBC Talkback, World Tonight, 5Live, LBC, ABC, CNN, Sky News, Sky Digital View, and has been Sky’s social media pundit during coverage of a number of by-elections and political debates. Carl’s website is and he tweets @carljackmiller.



3. Wrap up and fieldwork planning involving O3C supervisory team members and PhD researchers.

Wednesday May 1, 3-4, room G006 in G Block.