Casting the Net

image of shadow and text with the title of the project

Social media enables people to communicate. But can it also be used to reach out and connect with people who are socially excluded?

Part of the work of the SiDE project involves empowering young people in disadvantaged communities in partnership with third-sector organisations. Casting the Net is one such project, building on work already carried out for the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities scoping study programme.

Casting the Net investigates how third-sector organisations can use social media to interact with young people from disadvantaged communities. This work mainly focuses on helping individuals to master social media communications, allowing them to find and digest information more easily as well as to create their own impactful posts.

Rather than assume that young people are simply “intuitive users” of social media, the project looks at how they use it, and how third-sector youth organisations can apply this information to communicate better with young people. Casting the Net pays special attention to the ways in which social, spatial, cultural and structural issues affect how people communicate on social media, and analyses what changes in policy are required to give the third sector the tools and support it needs to make a valuable and lasting connection.

This builds on SiDE’s work as a ‘critical friend’ to the Regional Youth Work Unit (North East) who devised and ran the Net Assets project, encouraging young people to explore how they might utilise social media in a campaign to address rising youth unemployment.

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Tanaka, A., Gaye, L., Richardson, R., and Kazuhiro, J. (2010) Social inclusion through the digital economy: digital creative engagement and youth-led innovation. IDC 2010.