Social Media Today: Platforming Visibility, Recognition and Independence
Led by: Dr Iwona Leonowicz-Bukała
For decades, media in Western countries were serving democracies through informing, forming public opinion and educating civic societies. The Internet was perceived as the next step toward making access to the public sphere more equal and giving the voice to anyone who feels that has something worth saying. Now we are in a historical moment of media evolution, witnessing a tremendous digital shift in all areas of life, also these we had not thought of as being possible online. Due, in part, to the pandemic, we are now strongly supported by online tools in education, work, entertainment and everyday life, to the extent of which we are sometimes even not conscious. We may also not be aware how many groups – formerly highly disadvantaged, as minorities of all kinds, refugees, disabled or chronically ill people – have been empowered by the social media platforms. How do they do it? Why? What do they have to say? And who is listening? Let’s figure this out!
Does an Organisation’s Presence on Social Media Platforms still Strengthen Brand Image?
Led by: Dr Anna Miotk
Social media platforms gave consumers the possibility to both publish their own content and easily share content created by others. They also gave brands the possibility to communicate with their consumers individually and to target marketing content precisely. But the advantages appeared to be also disadvantages. If consumers can publish everything they want, they can also publish hate speech or misinformation (or easily distribute disinformation). Internet advertising, due to a long chain of intermediaries, is also prone to fraud. All these problems can cast a bad light on a brand and undermine its image. Some brands resigned from advertising on social media platforms (advertisers’ boycott in the USA), and some, such as British cosmetic company Lush, suspended their accounts. Will the pressure from the marketing industry be enough to force platforms to introduce changes?