UCL 2034


Exploring why we post

Principal theme: Delivering global impact

The impact of social media is a huge and widely discussed topic, but there is a fundamental problem with the terms of the discussion: can we assume that the uses of social media are the same around the world?

Funded by an advanced grant from the European Research Council, a team of nine anthropologists assembled at UCL to explore this question. They spent 15 months living in nine communities around the world, making more than 100 films about their research.


Among their discoveries, they found that social media is not making the world more homogenous, that memes have become the moral police of modern life, and that equality online doesn’t mean equality offline.

They shared their findings in UCL’s first massive online open course (MOOC), a free e-learning course which was available in English, Chinese, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil and Turkish on UCLeXtend. Through UCL Press the researchers are also sharing free open access books based on the project, which were downloaded more than 10,000 times in the first month of their availability alone by readers all over the world. In addition, the researchers continue to blog about their insights.



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