Conference looks at implications of social media for universities

A collage of Social Media logos

Professors Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano and Jana Vizmuller-Zocco of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at York University have been awarded a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Connection Grant that will be used to fund a conference on social media. The Social Media: Implications for the University Conference will be held at York University May 3 to 5.

Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano2Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano

The conference brings together more than 30 national and international researchers whose interests in digital technology are at the intersection of social media and the engaged university.

“We are very excited to receive support from SSHRC and from various York University offices.  Social media enable social interaction through connectivity on the Internet, and therefore lend themselves to any, and all aspects of social communication, including those at the university,” said Iannacito-Provenzano.

Jana Vizmuller-Zocco2Jana Vizmuller-Zocco

The goals of the conference are to analyze, discuss, explore, advance and exchange knowledge on the role that different forms of social media are increasingly playing in university environments.  In pursuit of the overall goal, speakers will share the specific objectives of addressing the following four questions:

  • Can universities substantially change the manner in which they achieve their mission by using social media?
  • What are the opportunities, impacts, and challenges of social media on the workings of the university?
  • How innovative and effective is the use of social media for the purposes of research, teaching, and administration in a university setting?
  • Do social media have a critical function in the mobilization and dissemination of knowledge?

“Given that social media, including Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more, are very popular and ubiquitous, it is advantageous to submit their use in universities to a close academic and formal scrutiny,” said Vizmuller-Zocco.

Keynote speakers presenting at the conference are:

  • Emory University Professor Mark Bauerlein: “The real revolution of Web 2.0”
  • Queen’s University Professor Sidneyeve Matrix: “Social and Mobile Technology for next generation teaching and learning”
  • Indiana University Professor Susan Herring: “Teaching about social media through social media”
  • University of Roma Tre (Università degli studi di Roma Tre) Professor Raffaele Simone:  “The shape of knowledge in the mediasphere”

Aside from the four confirmed keynote addresses, conference sessions reflect research, education and social media, university-community and social media, practical applications of social media in teaching, and university administration and social media.

Those who will be participating or or attending the conference include scholars, researchers, academics, administrators, and undergraduate and graduate students. The conference will also be of interest to social media professionals and staff in higher learning institutions, especially those who work in student recruitment and retention offices. The Social Media: Implications for the University Conference aims to strengthen connections between various university units. It also considers the potential for collaboration between the university and the community given the transformative nature of social media.

Register online before April 1, 2013 to take advantage of early-bird savings. Graduate students and undergraduate students do not pay conference fees but they must register online.

For more information, visit the The Social Media: Implications for the University Conference website, or “like” the conference on Facebook.

The conference Twitter handle is @SOCMEDCONF2013.

For more information, e-mail the conference organizers at