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Social Media and Human Rights


Dhiraj Murthy

R(w)SM Reading Group, 23 January, 2015, 3-4:30pm, Room 606 in the Centre for Family Research, 2nd Floor, Sociology, Free School Lane

Presentation overview

Urban Social Media Demographics 

Social media has become increasingly ubiquitous in our daily lives. Despite the prominence of social media, most literature does not highlight regional and sociodemographic characteristics. This research explores the intersections between place, race/ethnicity, and gender amongst American Twitter users. There is a paucity of work on the popular micro-blogging platform, but demographic analyses remain lacking. Using tweets from 50 of the most populated cities in the United States, we explored how age, gender, and race/ethnicity contribute to our understanding of urban Twitter use. By observing the inter-tweet interval (the time between tweets) of random users and individuals who tweet the most, we discovered that young, black and female users are the most active users within our data.


Reader, Sociology, Goldsmiths

Dhiraj Murthy’s current research explores social media, virtual organizations, digital ethnography, and big data quantitative analysis. His work on social networking technologies in virtual breeding grounds was funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of CyberInfrastructure. Dhiraj also has a book about Twitter, the first on the subject, published by Polity Press. His work also uniquely explores the potential role of social technologies in diversity and community inclusion. Dhiraj’s work on innovative digital research methods has been cited widely. Dhiraj founded and directed the Social Network Innovation Lab, an interdisciplinary research group investigating social networks and virtual organizations. For further information, visit his faculty webpage.

Key Reading

‘Urban Social Media Demographics: An Exploration of Twitter use in Major American Cities’ (distributed via email to the reading group)

Supplementary Readings

Book on Twitter:

Murthy, D., 2012. Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Article theorizing social media:

Murthy, D., 2012. Towards a Sociological Understanding of Social Media: Theorizing Twitter. Sociology, 46(6), pp.1059–1073.

Forthcoming methods chapter:

Murthy, D., 2015 (Forthcoming). Critically Engaging with Social Media Research Methods. In L. McKie & L. Ryan, eds. Social Research Methods. London, UK: Routledge.


About this website

This is the website for Ella McPherson's work related to her 2014-17 ESRC-funded research project, Social Media, Human Rights NGOs, and the Potential for Governmental Accountability.