New Media, New Politics: Social Media and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

TCD campus mapThis Roundtable brings together bloggers, journalists, and academics to discuss the changing use of new technologies in Northern Irish politics, focusing in particular on the use of social networks in recent political campaigns and street protests. This session is part of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI) annual conference but it is open to the public and is free of charge. Further details on the conference, and a full programme, are available at

When: Friday 18 October, 2pm – 3.30pm

Where: Neil/Hoey Theatre, Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin (see map)


Niall Ó Dochartaigh (NUI Galway)

Alex Kane (Journalist)

Paul Reilly (Uni. of Leicester)

Brian J. Spencer (Political blogger and cartoonist)

Alan Meban (Political blogger)


For further information contact

Roundtable originally organised by Dr. Orna Young.


  • Brian Walker

    I’ve a lot to learn but I can’t help feeling that the use to which a lot of new media has been put is disappointing. I’m not talking about porn or swapping photos, I mean something grand like the service of democracy and the sharing of ideas.

    Sure, Twitter and Facebook have gone viral but they tend to be lightweight and build groups of likeminded souls rather than promote dialogue. Blogs may seem obsolescent but at least they give space for something to say. They are at their best when they’re heavily promoted and part of an ambitious website. Mick deserves heaps of praise (and I know he doesn’t court it) for vigorously promoting dialogue between different points of view in our uniquely divided situation.

    But too much even here is a dialogue of the deaf. The mindset of people unused to communication outside the group veers towards point scoring rather than dialogue or new thinking. That can be fun to write but mighty depressing to read over time. It’s a worldwide phenomenon and I don’t pretend to understand it.

    The one thing blogs do for me is to keep me in touch with the wilder reaches of opinion and stories the all-too- predictable media fail to develop. That for sure is worthwhile. Slugger had been hammering away at the impotence of the Assembly. For the mainstream media a lot of the time this is the elephant in the room they fail to interrogate beyond the usual Nolan cognitive therapy.

    I can’t help noticing that in these Trinity sessions there were few real movers and shakers around, reinforcing the point that new media is still a cool accessory at best and not yet a serious tool for digging wide and deep.

    Have I got it wrong?