Hi, I’m Liam McLoughlin, and for all my sins, I’m a political researcher.

Lived in Cambridge. I moved to Preston. I now live in Manchester.

I have a fairly substantial video games collection. I also abuse technology a lot.

Talking of games. My handle, Leelum, is a tag I’ve been using online since I was 14.

I take photos, Film & Digital.

I make some fairly idiotic comments. I sometimes write longer idiotic comments too.

I used to work for a fairly well known Member of Parliament.

After that I spent a bit of time working in digital marketing.

My PhD looked at how social media is changing political representation in the UK

You are free to read my stuff or send me a message.

Hey there! My name is Liam, and for what feels like the last decade, I’ve been interested in the ways in which new communication platforms have changed the way we conduct politics. In particular, how social media has changed the communication between citizens and those who seek to represent them. This research has also led me to analyse how the internet has made political communication more aggressive, and in some instances, abusive.

I am also interested in research that looks into everyday political communication within online communities such as Twitter, Reddit or Discord. And the use of social media by state institutions, such as The Houses of Parliament, in the promotion of their work to citizens. If you asked me to summarise my research area into five key research areas, I’d probably go with (but not limited to) Political Communication; Social Media; MPs & Parliament; Social News; & Representation.

I’m also more than aware that academic research best benefits society when it’s read by more than the academic bubble. Hence the blog, but also some of my media appearances. I’ve spoken about my research to the NewStateman, New Scientist, Hits Radio, and GP.SE. In addition, I have also written multiple articles on The Conversation. I’m occasionally also on BBC 5Live’s Question Time Extra time, making five appearances on the show so far as an in-studio commentator (or Extra Timer). If you’re a journalist or producer, I’m more than available for interviews or to provide a comment on your article … just sayin’.


Published articles

McLoughlin, L., & Southern, R. (2020). By Any Memes Necessary? Small political acts, incidental exposure and memes during the 2017 UK General Election. British Journal of Politics and International Relations. DOI: 10.1177/1369148120930594

Ward, S. & McLoughlin, L. (2020). Turds, Traitors and Tossers: The Abuse of UK MPs Via Twitter. Journal of Legislative Studies. DOI:10.1080/13572334.2020.1730502

McLoughlin, L., Ward, S., & Lomas, D.W.B. (2020). ”Hello World!”: GCHQ, Twitter and Social Media Engagement. Intelligence and National Security. DOI:10.1080/02684527.2020.1713434

McLoughlin, L., Ward, S., Gibson, R., & Southern, R. (2019). A Tale of Three Tribes: UK MPs, Twitter and the EU Referendum Campaign, Information Polity. DOI:10.3233/IP-190140


McLoughlin, L. (2020). Conceptualising Content Moderation: Towards a greater understanding of what is, and what isn’t allowed on the internet. PSA ECN #BecauseTheInternet virtual Conference. (https://becausetheinternet.psaecn.co.uk/), July 13-24.

McLoughlin, L., & Ward, S. (2019). Light in the Darkness? Data Activism and the Campaign Against the Rise of Dark Ads. Paper presented to the Political Studies Association Election, Public Opinion and Parties Conference, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 13-15 September.

McLoughlin, L., & Ward, S. (2019). Dark Ads & Micro-Targeting versus Pro-Transparency Activism: Normalisation versus Equalisation in the Context of Political ‘Dark’ Advertising in the UK GE2017, UK EU Referendum, and the 2016 US Presidential Election. Paper Presented to the European Consortium of Political Research Joint Sessions, Université catholique de Louvain, Mons, Belgium. 8-12 April 2019

McLoughlin, L. & Ward, S. (2018). The Abuse of UK MPs on Twitter. Paper presented to Violence against Politicians: Theories, Data, and Implications: Exploratory Seminar at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. 

McLoughlin, L., & Southern, R. (2017). By Any Memes Necessary: Memes and Online Campaigning in the 2017 UK General Election. Paper presented to the Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group Annual Conference, University of Hull, November 16-17 2017.

McLoughlin, L., & Ward, S. (2017).Turds, Traitors and Tossers: The Abuse of UK MPs via Twitter. Paper presented to the European Consortium of Political Research Joint Sessions, University of Nottingham, April 25-29th 2017

McLoughlin, L., Ward, S., Gibson, R., & Southern, R. (2016).MPs, Twitter and the EU Referendum Campaign. Paper presented to the Elections, Parties and Opinion Polls Conference, University of Kent, September 8-10th  2016

Media Engagements

Carmbrant, C. (May 3rd, 2014). Britterna väljer väg i valet (in Swedish). GP.SE

Chakleian, A.(December 21st, 2017). Why don’t all ministers resign for lying? The mystery of the sackable offence. Newstateman

Kobie, N. (April 14th, 2018). Fighting Trolls With Your Friends. New Scientist.

Hits Radio/ Greatest Hits Radio (May 21st, 2019). Radio interview for news segment on Jeremy Kyle & the duty of care they have to their audience in relation to social media.

BBC Radio 5Live. (Multiple). Question Time: Extra Time.

Al Jazeera. (November 31st, 2019). Is abuse of UK politicians undermining democracy?

McLoughlin, L. (November, 1st. 2017). In light of O’Mara, we can expect our MPs to delete everything. PSA: Political Insight.

McLoughlin, L. (February 9th. 2017). Why do MPs keep resigning?. The Conversation.

McLoughlin, L. & Ward, S. (July 25th. 2017). The people who abuse MPs online. The Conversation.

McLoughlin, L. (January 30th, 2018). Youthquake was a ‘myth’, but social media campaigning is here to stay. The Conversation

McLoughlin, L (November 5th, 2019). Twitter’s ban on political ads does change the game in one way, The Conversation

Education & Employment

2019University of Salford
PhD – How social media is changing political representation in the United Kingdom
Pathway To Excellence Funded Scholarship
2014University of Manchester
Distinction, Politics MA
Dissertation: Social Media & MP’s Public Communications, mark 83
2013University of Salford
First-Class Honours, Politics Ba (Hons)
2020 – 2021Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the on Localising Content Governance project
Birkbeck, University of London
2018 – 2020Hourly paid lecturer, & Student Engagement
University of Salford
2017Research Assistant
University of Liverpool
2014 –
Digital Strategist
Jupiter Advertising
2010 –
Parliamentary Assistant
Hazel Blears MP


Co-Convener: Political Communication, University of Salford (2020)
Seminar Leader: Introduction to Comparative Politics, University of Salford (2020)
Module Lead & Seminar Leader: Politics & Democracy, University of Salford (2018-
Co-Convener: E-Democracy/Politics and the Internet, University of Salford (2018-
Marking (in addition to the above): Britain and the World & Political Communication.
Invited Lectures: MPs, Social Media, & Political Communication‘, University of Manchester (2016-2018)
Invited Lecture: Social Media and Political Campaigning‘, University of Liverpool (2017)
Workshops:Research In the Digital Humanities‘ and ‘Collecting and Analysing social media data‘, University of Salford.