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2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

avatar for Harry Dyer

Harry Dyer

University of East Anglia
Lecturer
UEA, Norwich
Dr Harry T Dyer is a digital sociologist and lecturer at UEA. Harry joined UEA as a lecturer after successfully completing his PhD at UEA in the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning. He has a broad academic background, with degrees in linguistics and social science research methods, as well as his ongoing research in online identity presentation.

Harry’s current research is in the emerging field of Digital Sociology, in which he looks at how social media platform design affects identity presentation and social interaction. His research proposes a new theoretical framework through which to consider the relationship between platform design and user that results in unique but bound identity performances. His is currently building a research project to look at LGBTQ experiences on social media, examining and unpacking the complex blend of platform design and socio-cultural resources that combine to create online social experiences. He is keen to unpack what compromises and negotiations are made between the user and platform, and what can be done to create a supportive environment for LGBTQ+ users.

Harry has taught on a range of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including courses on research methodology, social theory, media and education, and research ethics. Given his broad academic background, Harry’s research and teaching interests are equally expansive, and include digital sociology, identity theory, social theory, science and technology studies, research methodology, ethics, sociolinguistics, posthumanism, poststructuralism, and media and education.
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