Dr Yimei Zhu

Lecturer in Digital Media

School/Department: Media Communication and Sociology, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5486



I am a lecturer in Digital Media and a sociologist by training. My main research focus is studying how digital media is employed in various social context—e.g. how academics adopt social media how higher education sectors employ social media and how eSports industry develops. I also collaborate with colleagues in public health on various topics on health management and ageing. I have taught over a wide range of Sociology and quantitative & qualitative research methods courses to UG and PGT students as well as supervising students’ projects. I also conducted consultant work on Chinese social media Weibo for Durham University and Aston University.


I have a broad research interests studying digital media from sociological perspective—how new technology changed the way people think and behave (attitudes and experiences). My research interests include health communication social capital and digital participation and higher education branding on social media. I am currently working on a number of research projects: 1). Digital labour and wellbeing—a quantitative examination of digital workers’ job insecurity and mental health College Research Development Fund £3920 2). The influence of social media and social capital on Postpartum depression in China Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund £1990 3) Social media use and Chinese international students’ social capital and belonging to UK universities School Research Support Fund. £1923 4) Big data analysis of mental health discussion on Chinese microblogging site Weibo School Research Support Fund. £1984. 5) How senior citizens use social media to obtain health information in China College Research Development Fund £4978. 6) UK universities’ participation and interaction with Chinese students on Weibo and WeChat School Research Support Fund. £1997 


Liu, N., Zhu, Y., Wang, X., Jiang, H., & Liang, Y. (2021). Association of Organizational Behavior with Work Engagement and Work-Home Conflicts of Physician in China. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(10), 5405. DOI:

Zhao, Y. & Zhu, Y. (2020). Identity Transformation, stigma power, and mental wellbeing of Chinese eSports professional players. International Journal of Cutlural Studies. First published Dec 13, 2020. DOI:

Ye, B., Zhu, Y., Wang, X., Wei, S., & Liang, Y. (2020). Association between sleep-wake habits and use of health care services of middle-aged and elderly adults in China. Aging, 12(4): 3926-3935. DOI:

Zhu, Y. (2020). Open access policy and data sharing practice in UK academia. Journal of Information Science, 46(1): 41-52. DOI:

Zhu, Y. (2019). Social media engagement and Chinese international student recruitment: Understanding how UK HEIs use Weibo and WeChat. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education. Online First at:

Wang, F., Zhang, L., Zhang, P. Cheng, Y., Ye, B., He, M., Guo, H., Zhang, X., Yuan, J., Chen, W., Wang, Y., Yao, P., Wei, S., Zhu, Y., & Liang, Y. (2019). The Effect of Physical Activity on Hospital Service Use and Expenditures of Patients with Coronary Heart Disease: Results from Dongfeng-Tongji Cohort Study in China. Current Medical Science, 39(3):483-492. DOI:

Zhu, Y. (2017) Who support open access publishing? Gender, discipline, seniority and other factors associated with academics’ OA practice. Scientometrics, 111(2), 557-579.

Zhu, Y., & Purdam, K. (2017). Social media, science communication and the academic super user in the United Kingdom. First Monday, 22(11).  Online at

Zhu, Y. (2016) ‘Academics’ active and passive use of YouTube for research and leisure’ in Antonella Esposito (ed.) Research 2.0 and the Impact of Digital Technologies on Scholarly Inquiry. IGI Global.

Zhu, Y. & Procter, R. (2015). Use of blogs, Twitter and Facebook by UK PhD students for scholarly communication. Observatorio (OBS*) Journal, Vol 9, no2, p. 029-046.


I welcome PhD proposals in the areas of health communication and the study of Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo Douyin and Xiaohongshu use from sociological perspectives. I specifically welcome applicant with strong quantitative and computational research skills (e.g. use of SPSS R Python). I am particularly interested in supervising PhD projects in 1) Health communication in relation to digital divide and fake news. 2) Social media and users’ social capital & cultural capital. 3) Trust and online/offline community (e.g. online dating Airbnb & My current PhD students: Khamis Ambusaidi: Online Civic Engagement and Activism: A Study of Hashtag Activism in Oman Shiyi Zhang: Mental health misinformation acceptance and mediating roles of perceived risk and trust Jiayixiu Zhao: Exploring Chinese Lolita Fashion as a Cultural Industry: Female Subculture Identity and Performance Yutian Xiong: Female Subculture Identity and Performance How WeChat facilitates doing families blood relations and hometowns for the internal migrants in contemporary China Hao Huang: How Chinese universities use online media to construct organisational image 


I lead the following Postgraduate modules: MS7224 Digital media online persuasion and behaviour change MS7043 Digital media and everyday life MS7085 Making the Web 

Press and media

Digital media in China


Program Committee member of International Conference on Social Media & Society for 2020 #SMSociety Member of International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) and International Communication Association (ICA) 


Top faculty paper by The International Communication Association Popular communication Division at ICA 2020 conference


Zhao Y & Zhu Y. (2021) ‘Identity transformation stigma power and mental wellbeing of eSport professional players’ at GameSym2021: Gaming Livestreaming eSports & Youth Mental Health Symposium University of Leicester 2-3 June 2021. Zhu Y. (2019) ‘Big data analysis of mental health communication on Chinese microblogging site Weibo: A case study of Post-partum depression posts after a publicised suicide’ at Medicine Humanity and Media (MHM 2019) Conference Peking University 10-12 November 2019. Zhu Y. (2019) ‘British universities’ brand communication on Chinese social media’ at 10th International Conference on Social Media & Society Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson Toronto Canada 19-21 July 2019. Zhu Y. (2019) ‘A case study of older adults’ digital literacy and WeChat use for health communication’ at The Shenzhen Forum 2019 organised by the National Communication Association (NCA) U.S. and Shenzhen University China 27-29 June 2019. Zhu Y. (2019) ‘HEI’s social media engagement and Chinese international students’ weak-tie social capital’ at Chinese Educational Research Association (CERA) conference UCL Institute of Education 13-14 June 2019. 


Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy
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