Research Seminar: Metrics, boycotts and other digital tactics in the struggle for influence

Industries and users often look to technology, particularly social media, to locate, understand and influence one another.

Fans use social media to campaign for reboots of their favourite TV shows. Activists create online petitions urging brands to pull their ads from content they deem offensive. Platforms and movie studios use fan ‘experts’ to analyse audience data. Tech companies hire social scientists for qualitative understandings of users.

The digital tactics deployed in these cases demonstrate the ways industries and users imagine one another, and how their interactions are constantly filtered through their identities and the imagined identities of others.

Dr Elena Maris is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Microsoft Research in New England where she is part of the Social Media Collective. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, Wired, NPR, and Forbes.