Investigating Twitter

    How can you spot a Twitter ‘bot’ – and how is it different from a ‘cyborg’ or a ‘sock puppet’? Who starts hashtags, and how can trends be artificially inflated? More importantly, why does all of this matter?

    This session will look at some investigative techniques to help you get started looking into the real stories behind social media trends. Since 2013, BBC Trending has been investigating the origins of hashtag campaigns and the secrets behind social media accounts.


    Room DTH110, Deptford Town Hall, Goldsmiths University of London
    7 March 2018

    18:30 - 21:30

    Big organisations (10+ people) - £57
    Freelancers/small organisations (9 people and fewer) - £37
    Students (evening/correspondence) - £27

    Full-time students - £20
    Goldsmiths students: contact tom(at) for Goldsmiths discount.

    About the trainer:
    Mike Wendling is editor of BBC Trending, a specialist unit which investigates social media stories and provides in-depth coverage of trends via a weekly World Service podcast/radio programme, the BBC News, and BBC TV and radio outlets.

    Prior to his current role he was a radio producer making, among many other things, the Radio 4 series The Secret History of Social Networking.

    More recently he was part of the BBC team covering the 2016 US presidential election and is the author of the forthcoming book Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House.


    Course Outline

    This session will include tips on pattern spotting and using tools like the Internet Archive and reverse image searches. We’ll put Twitter into context and find out why, despite stagnating user numbers, this particular social network is still so influential when it comes to public opinion.

    You’ll also hear behind-the-scenes details about social media investigations and stories that were broken by the Trending team – like how Russia-linked bots drove a huge and surprising hashtag to the top of Twitter’s worldwide list just minutes after Donald Trump was elected president.

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