Friday, January 12, 2018

Social media and gang violence: Interview with Desmond Patton, Ph.D.

[Episode 116] Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast is about social media and gang violence. It is about 8 million tweets, cyberbanging, and using social media to get a 360-degree view of someone’s life. It is about the amazing research of Dr. Desmond Patton.

Dr. Patton's research uses qualitative and computational data collection methods to examine how and why gang violence, trauma, grief, and identity are expressed on social media and the real world impact they have on well-being for low-income youth of color.

Desmond and I spoke in January of 2017. He unpacked the complex relationship between gang banging and cyberbanging – a term he and his colleagues coined back in 2013. We also talked about how social workers can think about the relationship between social media and youth. Desmond encourages us to think of the online world as a new social environment that social workers need to understand. He questions existing agency policies that prohibit social workers from interacting with clients on social media and asks if those are empirically-sound policies. And one of the things that I love the most about Desmond’s work is that he combines the rich understanding that comes from qualitative research and the cutting edge insights that can come from analyzing big data.

  Download MP3 [29:29]

Bio

Dr. Desmond Upton Patton is an Assistant Professor at the Columbia School of Social Work, a Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Social Intervention Group (SIG) and the Data Science Institute. His research utilizes qualitative and computational data collection methods to examine how and why gang violence, trauma, grief, and identity are expressed on social media and the real world impact they have on well-being for low-income youth of color.

His current research projects examine:
  1. How gang-involved youth conceptualize threats on social media
  2. The extent to which social media shapes and facilitates youth and gang violence
  3. Developing a natural language processing tool for detecting aggression and grief in social media posts in partnership with the Data Science Institute at Columbia University.
Dr. Patton’s research on Internet Banging has been discussed nationally on media outlets to include the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, NPR, Boston Magazine, ABC News, and many more. Dr. Patton also provides expert witness testimony using social media during court trials. He was recently cited in an Amici Curae Brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in the Elonis vs United States case which examined the issues of interpreting threats on social media.

Interview

Introduction
Jonathan Singer: Hey there podcast listeners, Jonathan here. Today’s episode is about social media and gang violence. It is about 8 million tweets, cyberbanging, and using social media to get a 360 degree view of your client. It is about the amazing research of Dr. Desmond Patton. 

Desmond is an Assistant Professor at the Columbia School of Social Work, a Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center, Director of SafeLab, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Social Intervention Group (SIG) and the Data Science Institute.  His research uses qualitative and computational data collection methods to examine how and why gang violence, trauma, grief, and identity are expressed on social media and the real world impact they have on well-being for low-income youth of color. Dr. Patton’s research on Internet Banging has been discussed nationally on media outlets to include the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, NPR, Boston Magazine, ABC News, and many more. Dr. Patton also provides expert witness testimony using social media during court trials. He was recently cited in an Amici Curae Brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in the Elonis vs United States case which examined the issues of interpreting threats on social media. And if that weren’t enough, he was the recipient of the 2018 Early Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research. And like most recipients of that award, Desmond has done more in his early career than most of us could possibly hope to do in our entire career. Can’t wait to see what comes next. 

Desmond and I spoke in January of 2017 about his research. He unpacked the complex relationship between gang banging and cyberbanging – a term he and his colleagues coined back in 2013. We also talked about how social workers can think about the relationship between social media and youth. Desmond encourages us to think of the online world as a new social environment that social workers need to understand. He questions existing agency policies that prohibit social workers from interacting with clients on social media and asks if those are empirically-sound policies. One of the things that I love the most about Desmond’s work is that he combines the rich understanding that comes from qualitative research and the cutting edge insights that can come from analyzing big data. 

If you want to hear Desmond and I talk more about technology and social work practice, check out the video we made when I was at Columbia University giving the 2017 Austin lecture

And now, without further ado, on to episode 116 of the Social Work Podcast, Social media and gang violence: Interview with Desmond Patton, Ph.D.

Interview
(forthcoming)

References and Resources



APA (6th ed) citation for this podcast:

Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2018, January 12). #116 - Social media and gang violence: Interview with Desmond Patton, Ph.D. [Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/2018/01/patton.html

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