Social Media…What’s at Stake Now?

You are invited to attend a very special event organized by us, GC’s Program Social Media Fellows!

Social Media in Theory & Praxis: What’s at Stake Now?

Use of digital platforms and tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Google has indelibly altered cultural production, political processes, economic activity, and individual habits. This event is a presentation and panel discussion on several pressing issues in social media and digital literacy featuring five invited scholars, organized and moderated by the Graduate Center Program Social Media Fellows. The speakers bring expertise in a range of timely topics including: grassroots use of the Internet, feminism, open source project development, labor, appropriation, peer production, virtuality, networked cameras, and big cultural data analysis.
Invited speakers include:
Chris Caruso, PhD candidate in Anthropology (GC, CUNY)
Sumana Harihareswara, Founder and Principal of Changeset Consulting
Michael Mandiberg, Professor of Media Culture (CSI, CUNY) & Coordinator of the ITP Certificate Program (GC, CUNY)
Laura Pavón, PhD candidate in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures (GC, CUNY)
Alise Tifentale, PhD candidate in Art History (GC, CUNY)
Moderated by:
Naomi Barrettara, PSMF Coordinator & Fellow for Music
Jennifer Stoops, Fellow for Urban Education
All are welcome to attend! #digitalGC #SMcrit
The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
April 18, 2018: 6:30 PM
Digital Initiatives at GC, CUNY
The Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate Program, GC, CUNY
The Center for the Humanities, GC, CUNY
The Futures Initiative, GC, CUNY

Metrics for your Research Impact – From the Chronicle of Higher Education

The Social Mediums are kind of metrics wonks. The work of promotion and social engagement can seem very *squishy* if you can’t measure your impact and figure out what’s working and what’s not. Increasingly, as scholarship moves online it’s becoming harder to aggregate the impact of all the ways research can be shared. This article describes  a new toolkit that helps people do this and puts it into a very attractive page (take a look at this sample here: ). Think of it like  CV for your research’s digital impact. It’s pretty impressive – The Social Mediums

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Strategies for Encouraging Effective Student Discussions – From Chronicle of Higher Education

It’s easy to forget that “social media” encompass much more than Twitter of Facebook. As social media fellows, we don’t just think of it as platforms, but also as a way of thinking about digital life that encourages interaction, discussion, and collaboration. Sometimes, technology as simple as discussion boards in classes presents opportunities to rethink praxis. This great article from The Chronicle of Higher Education brings together a wealth of useful material on encouraging discussion in classrooms. Nearly everything here is of use in digital spaces, too! – Social Mediums

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Making Social Media More Social

My experience as a Social Media Fellow has been one of growth and discovery. I had the opportunity to learn from Jennifer Prince, my predecessor, about the multifaceted world of social media. To my surprise, I became aware of the many steps taken to provide the public with an informative and visually-pleasing experience. Once I met the team of Social Media Fellows I felt immediately welcomed. Needless to say, they all have a level of expertise and a willingness to help that I greatly appreciate. On our very first meeting, as we discussed our goals for the year, one of us mentioned the importance of making our role be understood and portrayed as “human”. Unaware of precisely what was meant, we asked for an explanation, which resonated with me once it was provided. Indeed, it seems that for those of us who manage an institution’s social media outlets there tends to be, ironically, little connection between ourselves and our audience. Meaning that while we successfully reach a general public, our audience does not get to see that every action taken on social media is made by a particular individual. Individuals who, like my predecessor, developed sites, attracted a following, and continuously developed content that would allow for growth and enthusiasm in site followers. It was at this moment when I realized that my presence, my efforts, and actions as a social media fellow, could be unacknowledged without direct contact with our audience. I, most importantly, could lose sense of my audience, unaware of their inevitably changing interests and expectations. Thus, I decided to speak directly to my audience. In our case, our public is composed of students and faculty members who belong to our corresponding academic departments. I engaged in a series of conversations with some of them to learn if there was something missing, something that had been unaccounted for, something that would make the audience’s experience more enjoyable and informative. A common suggestion arose: more communication for the purpose of sharing common interests. For example, there were many accomplishments made by the students and faculty that went unacknowledged on the academic department’s social media sites. At the same time, it became clear that the content provided by the department’s sites also slipped through the cracks of the ever-expanding feeds of our users. It was important to communicate directly with the students and faculty without, nevertheless, coming across as obnoxious and repetitive. With this in mind, I began to use pre-established sources of communication, such as group conversations in which most members of the department were already connected to. There, I was able to communicate more informally and directly, reaching my target audience immediately and amiably. A sense of community began to develop that allowed for content of interest and relevance to be exchanged in a social and friendly manner. Thus, while my presence became more apparent, our sites became more social. Our sites became more representative and thus more interesting. A true interest grew, not only within the academic department but the social media community as a whole. We began to gain followers and receive responses from unexpected yet significant sources. Our social media sites improved by becoming indeed more “human”, more social, more connected. We brought the “social” back into social media by engaging directly, in-person, with each other. In my experience, human contact showed to be the ultimate asset to develop social media sites. Behind our screens, whether those of our laptops or of our cell phones, we attempt to develop a social network. Yet, without developing a dialogue with our public, we can easily lose sight of who composes it and what they are expecting to see when visiting our sites. In return, my efforts were vocally appreciated. I felt less robotic and more connected to a community eager to share their interests, passions, and accomplishments.

Improving Accessibility in Social Media

As more information is made available via social media channels, in order to reach the largest audience and maximize reach and effectiveness, the content published must be as accessible as possible. About 20% of the population is estimated to have disabilities including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities ( The more accessible the content, the more people it can reach.

According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), content should be made perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. They define these four principles as follows;

  1. Perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. This means that users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it can’t be invisible to all of their senses)
  2. Operable – User interface components and navigation must be operable. This means that users must be able to operate the interface (the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform)
  3. Understandable – Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. This means that users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding)
  4. Robust – Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. This means that users must be able to access the content as technologies advance (as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible)

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