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BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival: Has Social Media Cracked the Code to the Crowd?

Booking Information

To guarantee your ticket book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.

Venue: Sage Two

Tickets: Free but ticketed (Max 4 per person)


Social media has allowed us to express our individuality and at the same time to interact like never before. But as the forces behind our digital lives become more sophisticated and powerful, are we in danger of succumbing to mass manipulation? Author of Fully Connected Julia Hobsbawm, Social Media director at DEMOS Jamie Bartlett, writer Laurence Scott and tech blogger Abeba Birhane switch off their phones to focus on the impact of tech on the way we behave.

Julia Hobsbawm’s most recent book Fully Connected explores how to cope in an age of data and deadline overload by proposing new ways to develop healthy connectedness with and without technology..

Jamie Bartlett is Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos with the University of Sussex. His book The Dark Net describes underground and emerging internet subcultures and his forthcoming Radicals looks at how the influence of radical groups on the political fringes is growing.

Laurence Scott teaches at Arcadia University and became a Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker in 2011. In his book, The Four–Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World, Laurence explores how life is being reframed in a digital age.

Abeba Birhane is pursuing a PhD in cognitive science at University College Dublin. She blogs regularly about the evolution of algorithms and the ethical considerations around such technology.

Anne McElvoy is Senior Editor at The Economist, and writes columns for London Evening Standard and a range of other newspapers. She appears as a commentator on news programmes, as a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze and presents radio documentaries and BBC Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme Free Thinking.

For your information…

  • Phase one tickets will be available from 12noon on Monday 5 February, with phase two tickets available from 12noon on Monday 19 February.
  • Tickets are strictly limited to four per person.
  • To guarantee your ticket book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.
  • Please take your seats 10 minutes prior to the event start time otherwise you may lose your place.

Part of BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2018