Secondment Report #02 – First research trip to Norway

Our group in Duisburg could’t wait to get started with RISE_SMA and work with our international partners. Therefore I travelled to Norway before the official kick-off meeting in April 2019. Together with the University of Agder, we tried to find out how social media is already being used in the Kristiansand municipality. It turned out that the communications department  uses Facebook to report on their daily work. In addition, they have already developed social media guidelines. However, social media also presents the municipality with new challenges that can be addressed by RISE_SMA.

  • Some departments of the municipality, such as the child protection services, are regularly exposed to hate speech. Thus, communication strategies for dealing with hate speech are needed.
  • The municipality is concerned because social media are used by anonymous people to publish fake news or politically distorted news. The municipality is interested in how this type of reporting affects upcoming elections.
  • According to the municipality, xenophobic narratives on social media may have a negative impact on the integration of refugees. In this regard, the municipality wishes for strategies that helps them to deal with such narratives.

For me, it was a great experience to learn from my stay at the Kristiansand municipality which challenges are perceived as important by practitioners with regard to social media. At the same time, the municipality found it exciting to learn more about the opportunities offered by social media analytics. I am already looking forward to my next stay in Kristiansand!

Read also the press release of the University of Agder in Norway about our meeting with the Kristiansand municipality: https://www.uia.no/en/news/how-do-we-use-facebook-during-emergencies

Jennifer Frommis a research associate and PhD student in the research group Professional Communication in Electronic Media / Social Media at the University of Duisburg-Essen. She studied Applied Cognitive and Media Sciences in Duisburg and is now researching the use of Virtual and Augmented Reality in complex collaboration scenarios.