Communication, Media Studies & Tourism Management

Course Overview


Social Media: Digital Identity & the Virtual Community


CEA Partner Institution: CEA Seville Center
Location: Seville, Spain
Primary Subject Area: Sociology
Other Subject Area: Communication
Instruction in: English
Course Code: SOC321
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 45
Prerequisites: None. Introductory courses in communication, sociology or media or are advised.
Required Supplies: Students enrolled in this class must be in possession of a laptop at all times, and are required to bring laptops to class.


With the advent of virtual communities, smart mobs, and online social networks (such as Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter, Linkedin, Digg and Delicious), old questions about the meaning of human social behavior have taken on renewed significance. What do we mean by "community"? How do we encourage, discuss, analyze, understand, design and participate in healthy communities in the age of many-to-many media? This course addresses these questions.

Although the course is grounded in theory, it is equally rooted in practice, and much of the class discussion and activity takes place in social cyberspaces. Consequently this course requires active participation of students and a willingness to immerse in social media practices. Much of the class discussion takes place in a variety of virtual world environments during and between face-to-face class meetings. As a practicum, those who complete this course will know how to chat, blog, tag, wiki, avatar, comment, twitter and flicker productively - and have some notion of how these practices affect self and community.

This course will also explore the new media landscape in terms of online expression, social networking, identity management, community building, and citizen journalism. How is social media changing the way you work and live? What are the implications for you and for the organizations you will work with? What opportunities and challenges do individuals, news organizations, and businesses face regarding communication, identity/brand management, and community building? How do we understand, participate in, and leverage communities in our current age of many-to-many media?

This course is cross-listed as COM351.
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