2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

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Saturday, July 29 • 14:00 - 15:00
Panel 2C: Women In Social Media – Safe And Unsafe Spaces

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Caroline Haythornthwaite is Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, with former academic positions at The University of British Columbia, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an earlier career as a programmer and systems analyst. Her research focuses on how the Internet and information and communication technologies support work, learning and social interaction, including research on social media, e-learning and learning analytics, and online crowds and communities. 


Stephanie Teasley is Research Professor and Director of the Learning, Education & Design Lab (LED), School of Information, University of Michigan. Her research has focuses on issues of collaboration and learning, looking specifically at how sociotechnical systems can be used to support effective collaborative processes and successful learning outcomes. As Director of the LED lab, she leads learning analytics-based research to investigate how instructional technologies and digital media are used to innovate teaching, learning, and collaboration.

Panel Speakers: 

Jennifer Stromer-Galley is Professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, and an affiliated faculty member with the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, and with the Department of Political Science. She is currently President of the Association of Internet Researchers. She has been studying “social media” since before it was called that, addressing online interaction and influence in a variety of contexts, including political forums and online games. 

Ingrid Erickson is Assistant Professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. She received her PhD from the Center for Work, Technology, and Organization in the Department of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University. Her research centers on the way that mobile devices and ubiquitous digital infrastructures are influencing how we work and communicate with one another, navigate and inhabit spaces, and engage in new types of sociotechnical practices.

Libby Hemphill is Associate Professor of Communication and Information Studies and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Humanities, Illinois Institute of Technology. http://www.casmlab.org

Alyssa Friend Wise is Associate Professor of Educational Communication and Technology, in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University.


Addressing the conference theme of “Social Media for Social Good or Evil”, this panel highlights work on and by women in the area of social media. Panel members address research about the experience of women online, but also – because women study more than themselves – research by women about the pros and cons of engagement online via social media. Themes address online engagement in political, gaming, and learning environments. Panel presentations address ‘social media for social good’ in the positive impact of efforts that relate to coming to know and jointly understand ‘the other’ across cultural and political differences. ‘Social media for evil’ is found in the negative treatment of women and marginalized communities online as demonstrated in online gaming and political environments. Acknowledging  the presence of both good and evil, the tensions this creates, and the hard work needed to form and reform social media spaces in the face of this duality, we hope to elicit a discussion in the service of better communication, dialogue and democratic process. As a whole, we see that the more social media dominates online interaction, the more important it is to address representation online. It is thus a ripe occasion to explore the role and extent that social media plays in creating both safe and unsafe spaces for interaction, learning, discussion, membership, and leadership in society.

The panel will be led and moderated by Caroline Haythornthwaite and Stephanie Teasley. We will present an introductory framing of the panel and the topic of Women in Social Media: Safe and Unsafe Spaces followed by short presentations by panel members Ingrid Erickson, Libby Hempfill, and Alyssa Wise. Stephanie Teasley will moderate a Q&A period consisting first of questions to panel members to address women’s experiences with social media as well as in academia or other work environments, and then opening up the Q&A session to the audience for further discussion.

Saturday July 29, 2017 14:00 - 15:00 EDT
TRS 1-147 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9