Configuring the commuter: 'Transport for London's' use and innovation of social media to demonstrate disruption

10 February 2017
10am to 11am
Melbourne Burwood Campus

In this science and technology studies-focused case study, Jessamy Perriam (Goldsmiths, University of London) will describe Transport for London’s (TfL) use of social media to demonstrate and respond to demonstrations of disruption on the London Underground network.

Event details

Publics are increasingly using social media as a method of demonstrating disruption in mundane settings. This includes public transport disruption, social disruptions and wide-scale disruptions of internet services through botnet attacks using wi-fi enabled kettles, toasters and baby monitors. How have we gone from communicating disruption in private phone, email or mail communications to highly public and publicised social media posts? Furthermore, how does this change the social?

This digital ethnography compares how TfL used social media-broadcast travel information during the 2012 Olympics to current usage of social media management platforms and Twitter chat bots to keep up with the 100,000 social media enquiries it receives each month.

Further, Jessamy will look at the ways social media contributes to problem amplification (Latour 1999) of issues regularly faced by London commuters, which in turn allow TfL to iterate their provision of social media customer service. Additionally, this fieldwork looks at how Twitter and TfL configure their users (Woolgar 1990) and one another to communicate disruption in prescribed ways.

Jessamy Perriam is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Invention and Social Process in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is conducts applied digital research for UK public sector organisations.

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Key information

Date and time

Friday 10 February
Burwood Corporate Centre
Level 2, Building BC
221 Burwood Highway, Burwood


Although this seminar takes place at Deakin's Burwood Campus, it will be live streamed to the Geelong Waterfront, Waurn Ponds and Warrnambool campuses as well.

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Contact details

Research for Educational Impact (REDI)
+61 3 9246 8185
Email REDI