Social Media and Austerity: Follow On

Social Media and Austerity: Online Peer Support in Mental Health Communities

This project is undertaking further analysis of pilot project data in order to examine how talk of treatment acts as a central topic for community engagement on Elefriends. The pilot project identified this as a core issue for which people sought (and provided) online peer support. Elefriends provides the opportunity to connect with others facing the same challenges re treatment (e.g. managing side effects). This analysis will facilitate knowledge transfer with other health related online peer support arenas that we have built relationships with during pilot project (e.g. with MindTech – NHS Technology Healthcare Co-operative).

This follow on work will directly address CCN+ concerns through developing the knowledge base regarding online peer support for mental health, as well as developing an innovative approach to user engagement with online communities. This will facilitate knowledge transfer with other social media initiatives in health and mental health arenas.



Tucker, I. & Goodings, L. 2015b ‘‘Social Media and Austerity: Online Peer Support in Mental Health Communities. Follow on Project Final Report.’ Working Papers of the Communities & Culture Network+ Vol.6 (Oct 2015).


Key Participants

Dr Ian Tucker: Tucker has considerable experience with researching community mental health, and digital technologies. He is a core Network+ member, and an expert member of the EU COST Action Living in Surveillance Societies (LiSS). He was PI on a Mental Health Foundation funded project investigating the impact of life transitions on older mental health service users, and has conducted research exploring the relationships between space and place, identity and mental distress. He has managed RAs and has high impact journal publications in the areas of community mental health, space and technologies. He has existing links with voluntary sector mental health charities (Mind), and has managed research that includes mental health service users as partners in the project (Service User Research). He has experience of running projects using online ‘naturalistic’ data.

 Relevant Example Publications:

Tucker, I. M., & Goodings, L. ‘Mediation and digital intensities: Topology, psychology and social media, Social Science Information, in press

Tucker, I. M. (2010) ‘Mental health service user territories: Enacting ‘safe spaces’ in the community’, Health: An International Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 14(4), 434-448

Dr Lewis Goodings: Goodings has several years experience researching social media, which began with his PhD work on MySpace and its effects on identity, embodiment and space. He has worked on an EU-funded project (Grundtvig – European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme) looking at the oral histories of older users of social media and the changing status of memorial practices. More recently he has been working on a project with Tucker entitled ‘Transformative publics: Social media and the production of bodies online’ (Roehampton-funded) which looked at the experience of unwanted body-technical assemblages in social media. His interests focus on identifying the role of digital media in the production of communities defined not in terms of essential properties (e.g. shape or size) but by the way users feel connected, and how such feelings are dependent on the specific aspects of the online environment.

Relevant Example Publications:

Goodings, L. & Tucker, I. M. (2014). ‘Social media and the co-production of bodies online: Bergson, Serres and Facebook Timeline, Media, Culture & Society, 36 (1), 37-51

Goodings, L. (2012). ‘Understanding Social Network Sites: Lessons from MySpace’. Visual Communication, 11(4), 485-510.