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AntiSocialMedia Summit live blog

Monday 07-03-2016 - 10:36

On Monday 7 March, we hosted an #Antisocialmedia Summit which aimed to challenge the abuse that is too often directed at students and student officers working in students' unions and NUS across the UK. The event was initially broadcast live via Periscope. In case you missed it, you can recap what happened by looking back through our live blog from the event below.

3pm: We're wrapping up here. Megan Dunn says this is very much the beginning of the campaign and we would love your feedback to campaigns@nus.org.uk. Thanks for following!

2.22pm: We're now going into our final session discussing what NUS, students' unions, institutions and social media providers can do in this area. 

2.15pm: Some feedback on the campaigning session - we should have training for clubs and societies, keep in dialogue with students on campuses, how do we focus on influencing beyond the campaign and how do we make sure we're not just preaching to the converted?

1.42pm: 49 per cent of young people believe it's OK to say things to others online that they'd never say in person, according to vInspired research.

1.35pm: Starting back with Joe from the Do Something campaign at vInspired on positive campaigning. 

1.02pm: Celebratory hashtags can be a great way to flood social media with positive messages. NUS has #LoveSUs, what do your students' unions have? 

12.56pm: York SU: Do we engage with Yik Yak or does that validate the abusive side? Consent talks are being held with new students joining the university - could this be extended to social media abuse?

12.49pm: Charlie Hughes demonstrating abuse on Yik Yak, but also how the SU has constructively engaged with it as a signposting service for students with mental health issues. How can SUs respond to negative posts on social media, and how can it be used more positively? 

12.44pm: Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students' Officer, says we don't talk enough with upcoming officers about how social media abuse will affect them and how they will be supported. 

12.40pm: Plymouth reports it has only been an issue since the past summer. 

12.37pm: Warwickshire and Canterbury Christ Church delegates have not had much direct experience of Yik Yak as the takeup is not large in those areas. Megan Dunn says more and more SUs have reported problems with it across the country.

12.34pm: Essex delegates point out that Yik Yak works well in local communities but can encourage false statements and perpetuates rumours about officers and staff members. 

12.15pm: We're about to start the next session, presented by Emma Short (Director of the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research) and Charlie Hughes (President of Bedfordshire Students' Union) on Yik Yak and anonymity on campus.

11.59am: Richard Brooks: "We have a significant opportunity to make a real impact in this area." NUS will take forward a lot of the issues discussed and feed into our campaigning work on social media abuse. 

11.57am: NUS vice president for higher education, Sorana Vieru, points out that sexist, racist and ableist abuse is designed to harm and hurt, which makes it difficult to tackle. 

11.53am: "Sometimes things might be expressed in a hostile way, but there's a lot of listening to be done. Countering a negative with a positive is the best thing to do."

11.50am: We're talking about the reality of separate personal and professional accounts for students' union officers. Often, people don't recognise the distinction so it can be difficult to switch off, avoid criticism in a private space or avoid scrutiny of content. 

11.43am: Megan Dunn: "These cultures have always existed...but vulnerable people, groups of people who have traditionally been oppressed are targeted in specific ways where the personal impact is higher." She asks what support can we offer but also how we can change these behaviours.

11.35am: Some students' unions are working with on-campus student media to tackle online abuse, and not encourage targeting of individuals. 

11.29am: Hearing about how social media abuse is fed into official complaints systems, to both deal with legitimate complaints and weed out insincere ones. 

11.24am: You can feed your questions and points into the summit on Twitter via the hashtag #AntiSocialMedia.

11.20am: From one delegate: "The culture is the same but the medium is not. You have a bit of a rant sometimes...the problem is now when you put the world to rights, you put it online. That's why we need to distinguish between trolling and complaining. It's whingeing really but it sticks about."

11.18am: "Free speech is not an excuse for hate speech, we all have a responsibility for what we say." We need to be proactive as well as reactive in dealing with online abuse as a movement. 

11.12am: Hearing about how SU candidates were put off campaigning on the final day of voting due to trolling on Yik Yak, and how election teams can approach these issues directly.

11.05am: We're now starting the roundtable discussion chaired by Richard Brooks, NUS vice president for union development. 

11.03am: NUS research shows that half of students agree trolling is getting worse, while only a third are aware of their institution's social media policy. Only 28 per cent are aware of their students' union policy in this area. 

11am: We're starting with an opening from Megan Dunn, who tells the delegates online engagement means "we are risk of changing our cultures for the worse, not for the better...to threaten, shame and harass people. We put people off engaging in conversations, in our institutions and in politics more broadly."

10.53am: You can read some of our initial research in this area here, where our president Megan Dunn spoke to the Sunday Times. 

10.49am: Hi everyone! We're starting at 11am - really excited to hear what our students' unions delegates have to say about tackling online abuse in their unions, institutions and more broadly in the movement. 


We want you to help us build the #Antisocialmedia campaign. If you have any experieices of internet trolling or have suggestons for the camapign, please contact campaigns@nus.org.uk.

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