How people talk about poverty and hardship online: A social media listening exploration


In summer 2023, Demos and Joseph Rowntree Foundation collaborated to investigate:

  1. What can we learn from social media about people’s experiences of poverty and hardship in the UK?
  2. How can these insights be scaled or tested in the future?

We carried out an exploratory project examining how people are talking about their experiences in online forums, and what insights social media listening can support for better policy development which puts people’s voices and lived experiences at its heart?

Our hypothesis was that social media forums would be a space where people were able to speak freely about their experiences, and that this would give insights into different aspects and dynamics of people’s experiences than other research methodologies, as well as providing insight into the role that online forums and communities play in supporting people.

In this report we present findings from our investigation and recommendations for designing and developing social media insights in this area.

Read the report in full.