HKU Scholar Collaborates with UNU-CS on Social Media Research
Gabrielle Cheung, currently a research assistant at HKU, visited the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) on Friday 29th July to present her report on social media tools to the UNU-CS team, see the slides. She has been helping UNU-CS to understand the use of social media in four areas:
- Political Mobilization & Regime Transition
- Disaster Response & Management
- Disease Surveillance
Her report is a systematic literature review that has covered 207 papers from 16 selected ICT4D journals and a number of other journals and conferences. To catch with current developments, it also contains an analysis of news treatment of social media in the same areas.
Her analysis reveals the strong focus of Twitter as an object of research, and warns of the problems of generalizing based on a decaying platform. When it comes to elections, she finds troublesome the fact that social media users are usually conferred different statuses that may not hold in reality. In particular, users are often equated with voters, which may not be true because of the lack of intent or geographical location, or just because they are bots.