Why We Post: Distinguished lecture of Professor Daniel Miller

The College of Social Sciences were delighted to welcome Professor Daniel Miller, University College London, to campus on Thursday 27 April 2017 to discuss the anthropology of social media. The lecture provided an overview of the Why We Post project, an innovative look at global social media use.

The lecture started with a look at the context of the project, which saw nine anthropologists spend over one year in communities across the world – including China, the UK, Chile, Turkey and  Trinidad – to gain in-depth looks into the role social media plays in the lives of residents.

During his lecture, Professor Miller discussed the three types of selfies – how, despite connotations of narcissism, the most popular type of selfie is the ‘uglie’, the use of which demonstrates the trust in relationship bonds. He spoke about how profile pictures of new mothers show the sense of identity in different cultures. In the UK site, for example, women often posted images of their child to emphasise their new identity as a mother. In contrast, the Trinidad sample often posted glamorous photos, reaffirming their identity as women whilst being mothers. Professor Miller delved into the concept of privacy in social media. The UK site often discussed the lack of privacy in a society dominated in social media; in the urban China site, researchers found that social media aided privacy.

To close the lecture, Professor Miller took a series of questions from the audience, talking about the impact of Tinder on modern relationships and the future of social media.

Audience members and speaker mingled in a drinks reception held afterwards.

Find out more about the project here: Why We Post.