USM Workshop on Social Media Research Sparks Interest | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On the evening of Wednesday, June 12th, USM hosted an enlightening workshop on how research on social media platforms can be used for the common good.

USM invited Dr. Vincent Jones II, a regular visitor to the island, to share his expertise with our community. The event brought 20 participants from various public and private entities who were interested in how the methodology could inform policy.

Dr. Jones, who is an assistant professor of Community Health and Director of the Health Promotion Center at York College, The City University of New York, first explained the need for social media research and gave an overview of research methods. Because social media reflects reality, valuable insights can be derived from the analysis of these platforms.

Dr. Jones used two of his co-authored TikTok content analyses as teaching tools. One documented discrimination against Black people attempting to flee at the onset of the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian war, and the other focused on racial discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These studies highlighted the need for mental health and policy resources for those represented in the videos. Social media can provide awareness and draw attention to people in crisis and issues that affect their mental health. Using social media research can address public health inequalities for underrepresented groups in society.

Attendees brainstormed issues they may be interested in researching using this methodology, including poverty, firearms, affordable housing, the decline of strong families, vote-buying and corruption, access to quality education, and the legal status of children born in St. Maarten. They were provided with resources to continue the work.

USM research coordinator Dr. Raymond Jessurun offered the participants interested in conducting this social media research the support and facilities of USM’s St. Martin Science and Research Institute. Dr. Jones also offered his help in kind. We are optimistic about strengthening our relationship, recognizing the importance of research in improving society.