Looking out for each other online: Digital outreach, emotional surveillance and safe(r) spaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article is concerned with what it means to think of online spaces as emotionally safe or safer. It does this by looking at the sharing of emotional distress online and the role of organisations in identifying and proactively engaging with such distress. This latter type of digital engagement is analytically interesting and rendered increasingly feasible by algorithmic developments, but its implications are relatively unexplored. Such interventions tend to be understood dualistically: as a form of supportive digital outreach or as emotional surveillance. Through an analysis of blog data about a Twitter-based suicide prevention app, this article attempts to understand the tensions and also the potential points of connection between these two meanings of ‘looking out for each other’ online. From an avowedly relational and emotional perspective, it tries to offer a more nuanced account of what it might mean to share emotional distress ‘safely’ online.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-67
Number of pages8
JournalEmotion, Space and Society
Early online date10 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • digital outreach
  • emotional surveillance
  • emotional distress
  • relationships
  • sharing
  • Twitter
  • blogs


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