1) Third Spaces and Political Talk (with Todd Graham and Dan Jackson): this project focuses on the nature of political in three everyday online discussion forums. In particular, the study focuses on what topics prompt people to talk (or not) about formal politics and government, and how people debate the economic crash.
2) Communicating with the Executive: this project is a comparative analysis of how the executive branches use new media to communicate with citizens. The analysis looks at the policy and political context of how new media come to be adopted (or not). It then moves on to comparatively analyse a number of e-democracy initiatives: Downing Street E-petitions and We the People; the official Facebook, Twitter and blog sites; and their use of online consultations and crowd-sourced policy. The main output will be a monograph. This is supported by a series of discrete articles that have focused on the UK case, and forthcoming work on organisational hybridity.
3) Blogging the Political: The research explored a broad range of issues, including: the extent and nature of political talk on blogs; how to define and analyse political; the commodification of the blogosphere; and a comparative analysis of people’s talk across their blogs and Twitter. The book focuses on informal political talk in third spaces (blogs, Twitter, and discussion forums)
4) Newspaper Comment Fields and Online Journalism (with Todd Graham): The first phase of this project studies the nature of debate on online comment fields at the Guardian newspaper, and how, if at all, journalists use comment field to support their journalism practice. The project uses a mixture of content analysis and interviews with journalists.
5) “Super-participation”: this project was drawn from the observation that many online spaces feature a highly active, core group of participants. There are two current outputs: a research paper in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication and a book chapter that focuses on the methodological approach. The research sets out a typology of “super-participation”: Super-posters (SP1s), agenda-setters (SP2s) and Facilitators (SP3s); takes forward theoretical debates about discursive equality in the field of deliberative democracy; and provides a large-scale quantitative and qualitative analysis of the discursive behaviour and role of SPs in one third space. The next phase of this research, funded by IBES, focuses on super-participation in Australia and China, and extend the work through the use of social network analysis and the inclusion of Twitter and Weibo.