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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Understanding Social Media
Module Code CM50020
School School of Communications
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Tetyana Lokot
Semester 2: Tetyana Lokot
Autumn: Tetyana Lokot
Module TeachersTetyana Lokot
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

5-credit version of CM5002 This module is concerned with examining the various relationships engendered by the rise of social media. It seeks to understand the role of technologies and media in both theoretical and empirical terms. It will therefore discuss theories that have sought to explain how media and technologies function in society, while it will also present and discuss various empirical studies that cover several spheres of life. The perspective of this module is critical in the sense of seeking to identify the various conceptual openings left by the theories while also gauging the implications of social media developments for political, social and economic life.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify, and critically analyse, social media related changes
2. Recognize the implications of social media for society and politics
3. Critically apprehend the impact of social media on various spheres of life
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the social and political role of social media
5. Evaluate the various theories linking technology to media and society

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture25Weekly Lectures
Online activity25No Description
Assignment Completion50Critical Essay
Independent Study25No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction. Media, technology, society
How is technology implicated in socio-political and economic life? Instrumentalism and substantivism. Technological determinism and social construction of technology. The rise of the network society (Castells). Media ecologies.

Social media and the economy
Informational capitalism. Production and digital labour. Platform economy & platform cooperativism. A political economy of social media

Social media and politics
Are social media more democratic? Social media during elections, conflict and war. Social media, protest and activism. Collective and connective action, mobilisation. Digital counter-publics. Populism, manipulation, political polarisation and social media practices.

Social media uses and abuses
How and why do people use social media? What determines media use? Abuses: addiction, cyberbullying, trolling

Digital divides and access to knowledge
The spread and diffusion of internet/social media. Notion of digital literacy. Digital divide, access. Knowledge, epistemology, participation, authority.

Self and identity in social media
The presentation of self in social media; selfies and identity management. Gender, ethnicity and social media

The dark side of social media
Surveillance and transparency. Hacking. Cyberconflict. Scams and fraud. Safety.

Mobile media, locative media, polymedia
Tablets, iPads, smartphones. Mobile media. Locative media. Ubiquity. Polymedia and hybrid media spaces.

Social media and networked socialities
Society and community. Networked individualism. The strength of weak ties.

Future of digital media and technologies
How can we approach the future of digital media? Questions of governance and regulation. Automation and algorithms, AI, IoT, etc.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayA 4,000 word critical essay on given topics100%Week 12
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Siapera, E.: 2018, Understanding New Media, 2nd, Sage, London,
  • Fuchs, C.: 2013, Social Media: A Critical Introduction, Sage, London,
  • Greenfield, A.: 2017, Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life, Verso, London and New York,
  • Papacharissi, Z., Ed.: 2010, A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites, Routledge, New York,
  • Stiegler, B.: 2017, Automatic Society: The Future of Work, Polity, Cambridge, UK and Malden, MA,
  • Abidin, C.: 2018, Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online, Emerald Group Publishing,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
AFUAge Friendly University Programme
GDEMEDGraduate Diploma in Emerging Media
MSCEMMSc in Emerging Media

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