CMNS 353

Topics in Technology and Society

This course examines social media and big data to understand how emergent technologies are shaping societies, cultures, and conceptions of the self. Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube constitute a digital ecosystem through which our personal information flows seamlessly. In this digital ecosystem, our data is a valuable resource.

While platforms afford users the agency to connect with friends, share ideas, and engage in political discourse, they also extract as much data as possible, according to business models and policies that prioritize seizing user attention and steering behavior.

Moreover, third-party stakeholders collect and analyze data from the digital ecosystem to manipulate public perception for economic or political gain. What is the social media ecosystem and how does it work? Who has a stake in our personal data and why? How do we explore and mobilize modes of self-expression in an environment of mass surveillance?

To answer these questions, we will conduct case studies of social networking sites and study research on technology, culture, and social change

Tutorial presentations and exercises

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