About the project

In recent years, young men’s use of social media spaces has become a hot topic in the UK media, particularly those associated with young lads. Some media reports have been critical of young lads, especially their banter on social media, while others acknowledge that for many, these spaces offer them an effective way to chat to their mates, share stories and news about sport or nights out.

However, there’s little research about what young people think about young men’s use of social media. That’s why researchers at University of Liverpool have developed a research project that explores what young people think about these issues. We want to hear from young people (18-25 years), including young men, about their thoughts and experiences.

What’s it like to be a young man or lad on social media today? What kind of content gets posted or shared? What role does this content play in forming friendships and social connections? This research will be used to support community-based groups in the UK who work with young people in understanding masculinities in social media spaces.

This project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Meet the team

This project is being conducted by researchers at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Research team

Dr Craig Haslop, Principal Investigator of the project, is a Lecturer in Media at the University of Liverpool. His research explores gender and sexuality in social media and cult television. In his spare time, he enjoys watching crappy sci-fi TV as well as going to festivals.

Dr. Fiona O’Rourke is a research associate at the University of Liverpool. Her research critically examines the relationship between social identifications, power inequalities, discriminatory practices and agency, particularly in relation to race and gender. When she’s not researching, she loves to enjoy creative practices, like writing, painting and visiting art galleries, as well as outdoor pursuits, like trekking.

Research interns

Beth Clements is an undergraduate sociology student at the University of Liverpool who is interested in gender-related issues in mainstream culture. She recently attended a summer school in Vilnius, Lithuania, which explored strategies for countering organised crime in this national context. In her spare time, she enjoys playing badminton, swimming, walking and travelling.

Richard Snowden-Leak is currently studying for an undergraduate degree in English. He also studies Communication and Media and is interested in how people present themselves in mainstream culture. When he’s not stuck at home studying, he goes to gigs and sees what the local music has to offer.

Ryan Griffiths is studying for an undergraduate degree in Communication and Media. He’s interested in critically examining representations of people from diverse genders and sexual orientations in mainstream media. He’s training to be a make-up artist and regularly uses social media platforms to engage with people who are interested in creative practices, like make-up application.


The research team is working with two co-investigators at the University of Sussex.

Professor Alison Phipps is a political sociologist at the University of Sussex, whose research focuses on debates and policy frameworks/interventions around gender and intersecting forms of inequality, especially those that relate to sexual violence.

Dr Sharif Mowlabocus is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Digital Media at the University of Sussex. His research interests centre on sexuality and digital culture. Published work focuses on themes of digital pornography, sexual health, LGBTQ identities, digital embodiment and homonormativity.

Get in touch

If you would like to speak to us about the project please contact:

Dr. Fiona O’Rourke ([email protected])

Dr. Craig Haslop ([email protected])