Social and online media where citizens articulate their thinking and attitudes have been shown to yield valuable insights for policymakers and communicators in health, environmental management, education and other domains.
This symposium aims to advance understanding of ways that public authorities can improve their decision-making and policy by closely analysing social media.
University researchers have a role to play in working with public authorities to develop effective and efficient approaches to gathering and analysing insights from social media that are useful in policy development.
While much attention has focused on using social media to communicate to communities, this symposium will focus on ways social media helps policymakers to listen to communities. In particular, it will focus on qualitative approaches to analysis and interpretation, as distinct from more automated analysis.
Insights from social media have some distinct advantages and limitations when compared with other research methods such as surveys, focus groups or interviews.
This one day event will bring together academic researchers focused on uses and analysis of social media in public decision-making, and people working in public policy, strategy, and communication.
The aims of the symposium are to:
People working with or researching public policy and decision-making who seek to engage or understand community thinking:
|Introduction/Opening to the day|
|Morning - Cases, benefits and opportunities for better public policy|
|Why this is important||Peter Simmons - CSU|
|Case 1 – Reacting to changes in public policy: the case of cervical screening||Rachael Dodd – Uni Syd|
|Case 2 – Public attitudes to government roles in obesity prevention||
Lucy Farrell – Uni Adelaide|
Jackie Street – Uni Wollongong
|Why manual, qualitative analysis over automated? The carp release program||Michael Mehmet – CSU|
|Morning tea - provided|
|Case 3 – Them and us! Motorists and cyclists||Carlo Prato – Uni Queensland|
|Case 4 – What to do about sharks?||
Peter Simmons – CSU, |
Belinda Curley NSW Department of Primary Industries
|Applications and opportunities across the public sector?||Panel and open discussion|
|Lunch - provided|
|Afternoon – Adapting and applying methods to meet policy needs|
|What information aids policymakers and what’s available in SM?||Kane Callaghan - CSU|
|Publicly available! Ethics of use of SM data and permissions||Kelsey Chalmers -Menzies Centre for Health Policy|
|Workshopping the wicked: Facilitated discussions – 3 trends and questions||David Cameron - CSU|
|Afternoon tea - provided|
|Workshopping the wicked continued||David Cameron - CSU|
|Wrap up||Peter Simmons - CSU|
|Close||Donald Alexander - CSU|
|Evening - Social!|
|Bathurst Kangaroo Walk (sneaker-friendly symposium)|
|Dinner – to be advised|
School of Communication and Creative Industries, Charles Sturt University
Peter Simmons is a Charles Sturt University Research Fellow. His special focus is the use of social media in public policy, especially in matters of coexistence and conflict. He has used attitudes expressed in social media to explore several cases of human/human and human/non-human conflict. Peter’s recent research has examined local government communication, sport referee communication, and influences on attitudes to managing sharks.
School of Public Health, University of Sydney
Her research to date has focussed around communication in healthcare in combination with assessing psychosocial impacts of HPV-related cancers. Rachael’s current research is looking into communicating key concepts of HPV and cervical cancer in the context of providing reassurance and information about the renewed National Cervical Screening Program in Australia. Rachael completed a Masters in Health Psychology and a PhD in Psychology in London, UK.
School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland
Carlo Prato is Professor in Transport Engineering. His natural curiosity and passion for behavioural modelling drives his research into understanding what makes people behave the way they do as pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users, and car drivers. In 2017 Carlo was the recipient of the Partners in Research Excellence Award from The University of Queensland for his work in the partnership with the Port of Brisbane that aims at developing port growth.
Division of Academic and Student Engagement, University of Adelaide
Lucy Farrell is a mixed-methods social researcher, currently working on evaluation in higher education. Her background is in large-scale program evaluation and deliberative approaches to policy-making across a range of sectors and organisational settings. She received her PhD in public health from the University of Adelaide, investigating public attitudes about obesity prevention policy. Lucy also holds a Masters in Journalism and a Bachelor of Psychology.
Menzies Centre for Health Policy
Kelsey Chalmers received her PhD in public health from the University of Sydney, and investigated the measurement of low-value procedures using Australian private health insurance claims. During her PhD, she worked with government and industry stakeholders, and was a visiting Queen Elizabeth Scholar at McMaster University in improving health systems. Her current work at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy focuses on value and financing in health care, including out-of-pocket costs.
School of Management and Marketing, Charles Sturt University
Dr Michael Mehmet specialises in social media social listening. He has pioneered a multimodal method that can extract meanings and sentiment from a range of social media sites. His background in marketing and communication has allowed him to apply his skillset across a range of policy, business and community contexts.
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Belinda’s career has focused on applying strategic social and ecological research to policy and communication in coastal environments. She currently works on the development of the Marine Integrated Monitoring Program for the NSW marine estate, with a particular focus on the social and cultural components of the initiative. Previously, she led the social research program for the NSW Shark Management Strategy and conducted ecological research on Marine Protected Areas.
PhD student, Charles Sturt University
Kane Callaghan’s research focus is on ways that online citizen commentary can be collected and analysed for use in public policy decision making. Kane's PhD uses the policy space of human-shark coexistence to explore systematic approaches to capturing and making sense of citizen thinking expressed online. Kane's PhD research is funded by both the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the CSU Institute for Land, Water and Society.
Australian Centre for Health Engagement and Values, University of Wollongong
Dr Street is internationally recognised for her research on the inclusion of patient and citizen voices in decision-making for health technology assessment (HTA). She pioneered early work using social media to bring public voices into public funding decision-making for health technologies. Dr Street received her PhD in Biochemistry (University of London, 1985) but made a career change into public health in 2005. Dr Street is a founding member of the Australian Centre for Health Engagement, Evidence and Values at the University of Wollongong. ACHEEV is a new Centre bringing together leading experts in deliberative practice and community engagement.
School of Communication and Creative Industries, Charles Sturt University
David Cameron is a Senior Lecturer in Communication at Charles Sturt University. His professional background includes broadcast and online media production. His PhD examined shared conventions between educational drama and game-based learning. David’s recent research and publication has examined ways in which live performance and media arts interact with digital cultures to create new forms of multimodal and transmedia storytelling.