Social Media and the City

On Tuesday, March 26, I will give a talk in the Urban Studies program at Leiden University’s The Hague campus. The title of the talk is “Social Media and the City: A Computational and Ethnographic Investigation,” and it will provide glimpses of the research I conducted with Justus Uitermark over the last few years on the interface between urban space and social media.

Here’s the description of the talk:

In the everyday lives of contemporary urban dwellers, the distinction between online and offline is no longer meaningful. Spectacular urban phenomena like mass protest events—but also mundane happenings like having a cup of coffee—now rarely take place without being mediated by digital platforms. How do relations among urban dwellers’ change when online and offline are so interwoven? How do they perceive and conceive of their urban environment when it appears to them not just as a lived reality, but also as a deluge of images and metrics?

In this talk, I provide an overview of research I’ve undertaken over the past four years to find answers to these questions. I’ve been interested in how social media like Instagram change how people understand their cities, how they relate to one another, and how urban space itself is materially transformed by these digital platforms. In the process, I had to teach myself new research techniques and enter unfamiliar fields, so in addition to presenting some of my findings, I will also talk about what research at the urban–digital interface looks like.

The talk will take place in the Wijnhaven building, room 4.78, from noon till 1pm. It’s a brown-bag event, so bring your own lunch.