Online Campaigning:  the Public Sphere and Eschatalogical Abuse


I was asked last Summer to give a short presentation on my research into the use of social media in the Scottish referendum to the University’s Social Informatics group. The presentation last summer was postponed due to lack of interest, but I offered to give a talk on the same subject this month. In retrospect I think the title is probably the best bit. My superficial argument is that for many activists the result of the referendum may represent the end  of the World as they know it, so it is unsurprising the online debates are heated; my more subtle argument is that the two campaigns are networks crossing party boundaries, so the importance of parties has been weakened in the campaign, but that this movement of the debate into the public sphere has been greater because social media has enabled people to run their own personal campaigns, sharing Facebook posts and retweeting messages. The latest versions of the attractive graphics can be viewed at


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