The advent of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin has revolutionised the way people interact with each other in the 21st century by placing at our fingertips the capacity to reach instantly a global network of loved ones and strangers with the click of a button. These platforms help individuals separated by distance to sustain family ties, the bonds of friendship and romantic relationships. They enable businesses to reach a wider market of consumers at the same time they offer a vehicle for mobilising grass roots activism and support for philanthropic causes. They offer a means of circulating artistic work, news and opinions outside of mainstream channels. While social media enhance our ability to share information and engage in personal expression, they have also raised a host of critical issues such as the dynamics of online communication and digital citizenship, regulatory approaches, (in)appropriate usage of platforms, technological development, the opportunities and challenges of virtual commerce and the general relationship between online and offline social environments.
The project offers a series of conferences, workshops, seminars, publications and special events aimed at generating inclusive interdisciplinary dialogue that explores the ways in which social media:
- influences the way we engage and communicate with each other
- informs the ways in which we experience and understand emotions
- affects our relationship with technology
- impacts our relationship with institutional power (e.g. media, government, corporate interests)
- (dis)empowers us as consumers and producers
- catalogues and organises information
The project also seeks to promote:
- Understanding of the relationship between social media, the Internet environment and offline interaction
- Interdisciplinarity as best practice for using social media in entertainment, commerce, activism and community development, etc.
- Opportunities and challenges for regulating social media
- Strategies for dealing with limitations on the reach of social media
- Innovation in technologies and metrics of social media
- Reciprocal relationship between social media and education
Project Map and Outcomes
The project’s structure allows for in-depth explorations of individual platforms and the relationships with each other as well as more focused workshops and seminars, including events that deal with practical application of social media’s capabilities.