Social media research pioneer to give Salford lecture

Categories: Salford Business School

The creator of a method of analysing trends on social media will give the latest in a series of lectures and discussions at the University of Salford.

Professor Robert Kozinets, of the University of Southern California invented the technique of netnography in 1995 and since then has gone on to be one of the world’s leading  social media researchers. Netnography is currently used around the world in business, research firms, and by academics in the top universities. He will give a free online lecture on netnography later this month as part of the University of Salford’s Tech Disruption series.

Prof Kozinets said: “Netnography is a way to understand the tribes and cultures that emerge and engage through online technologies, because more quantitative tools don’t provide a way to do that.

“Complex social behaviors are going on online and netnography provides us with a way to understand them that maintains their richness. Having a tool like netnography has been found to be very practical to business. There have been over 10,000 published netnographies, often on sensitive topics that people find it difficult to talk about, such as sexuality, religion, or addiction, but share on social media.”

Netnography uses huge amount of data to spot patterns and trace connections in the way that ideas and messages spread through social media. As part of his lecture Prof Kozinets will explore recent developments of the practices netnography in the age of COVID.

“It’s about understanding the different tribes, the richness of human culture that is online. It’s a qualitative form of research in the same way that human geography is. Netnography is a social science, artful but not art,” Prof Kozinets said.

“And it will be a vital tool in helping us understand the world in the coming years. Social media is not going away, it is only going to become more important, so we need to be able to understand it. For example how did support for white supremacists grow online in America and other parts of the world?

“The way we use technology has changed, and we can look at things like how people have used social media to cope with challenges of current times, for example, the Covid pandemic,” he added.

The lecture will take place online at 5pm on Wednesday, April 28 and is free for everyone who register on the website.

Prof Kozinets’ lecture is the latest in a series looking at how technology will change everything. Organised by Dr Alex Fenton from Salford University Business School and Professor Andy Miah from the School of Science, Engineering and Environment, they live streamed and recorded through YouTube. Up to date information and events schedule can be found on the Cluster website.

Dr Alex Fenton said: “Academics, students and anyone else with an interest in technology is welcome to join these events for a lively and accessible debate and examples of disruptive technology. We’re really happy that world leading speakers and academics like Professor Robert Kozinets can join us for these exciting sessions.”

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