Social Media
Course code
old course code
Course title in Estonian
Course title in English
Social Media
ECTS credits
Assessment form
lecturer of 2023/2024 Spring semester
Not opened for teaching. Click the study programme link below to see the nominal division schedule.
lecturer of 2024/2025 Autumn semester
Not opened for teaching. Click the study programme link below to see the nominal division schedule.
Course aims
The goal is to allow the student to think through and conceptualize what is “social” and what is “media” in social media. What are the everyday practices of living with/in/on social media. What is the relationship between the developments in networked communication technologies, cultural norms and values and everyday life. What is the connections between the features and affordances of social media platforms and apps, the algorithms they employ and people’s everyday practices.

Participants will learn cutting edge theory as well as be introduced to innovative methods for understanding practices in the digital era.
Brief description of the course
This is a theoretically oriented course, focusing on an overview of current relevant theories and scholarly debates on social media and society. The goal is to allow the student to think through and conceptualize the social, political, economical and ideological aspects of living with social media and smart technologies. In the Global North, most social, economic and cultural phenomena are shaped by digital and networked communication technologies, including by corporately owned social media platforms. The internet and social media have been lauded for allowing participation, collaboration, expression and experimentation to individuals and groups; for giving voice to the marginalized and educating the masses. On the other hand the “always on” state of the mobile internet, plus the rise of social media platforms and apps prompts many critiques. It has been linked to the decline of democracy, increasing dominance of consumer capitalism, the spread of phenomenally harmful misinformation (climate change denials, political propaganda), information overload, anxiety, precarious labor, etc. Topics:
-  What is social about social media?
-  Social media as a socio-technical infrastructure. Platforms, governance, regulation. Affordances, algorithms, AI, automation, bots.
-  Embodied individual as a social media user. Use and non-use. Connection and disconnection. Embodiment and Disembodiment. Personal connections and connectivity. Practices.
-  Attention (economy) and (mis)information – knowledge, discourse, commodification, manipulation, reputation, authenticity.
- Power on/with/through social media. Visibility, invisibility, social inequalities. Privacy and Surveillance. Algorithms of oppression. Sexism, racism, classism. Resistance.
- Production, consumption and participation. Shifts in understanding of work and labor (playbor, prosumer, produsage)?
- Future making and ethics. Civic engagement, participation, literacy, net neutrality.
Learning outcomes in the course
Upon completing the course the student:
- improves ability to analyze and evaluate the interweaving of social media in society and in people’s everyday life;
- understands the key literature on, and the relevant conceptual frameworks explaining social media (incl. how to make sense of the affordances of social media platforms and apps and their relations to the behaviors and everyday practices of individuals or groups).
- comprehends the fundamental conceptual vocabularies of social media research.
Katrin Tiidenberg, PhD