Social Media Technology Conference and Workshop

The annual Social Media Technology Conference & Workshop, hosted by the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University, is an intensive academic and professional conference that combines panel discussions, posters sessions and hands-on workshops designed to enlighten attendees about new scholarship, professional practices, and pedagogical approaches to social media.

The conference provide attendees an opportunity to exchange ideas, present their original research, learn about recently completed and work-in-progress studies, and strengthen connections with their peers. It also broadens the prospective of scholars and practitioners about the changing role of social media around the world, and it provides them with the knowledge to create and effectively use social media in a variety of contexts. 

The Social Media Technology Conference and Workshop is growing in influence as it brings together educators, students, journalists, public relations professionals and other communication professionals interested in the intersection between social media and culture, journalism education, society and work, with a particular focus on African-Americans and people of color around the world.

In fact, our conference is one of the more diverse events organized to focus on this demographic. It has evolved into an important venue for scholars engaged in cutting-edge research in various areas of social media. We have hosted scientists, sound technicians, librarians, lawyers, journalists, marketers, engineering professors, social media experts and scholars from across the United States and several countries, including China, Israel, Egypt, and South Africa. 

The conference served as the inspiration for two books edited by the organizers — Social Media: Pedagogy and Practice and Social Media: Culture and Identity

This year’s theme focuses on dissecting how power and difference force or provide an opportunity for social media to be used by those who may be considered marginalized in U.S. society or within other countries. The goal is to bring scholars and professionals together to share their perspectives on how social media are utilized by various individuals, groups, cultures or organizations to bring their voice, influence and impact on societies.

In 2015, the conference questioned the ethical direction of social media, examining contradictions and dissected the connections between social media and popular -isms (distinctive doctrines, systems, confluence and theories), through presentations about Facebook becoming a platform for news organizations, parental shaming of children online, rampant misinformation, the “Gamergate” controversy, ephemeral video, as well as social media coverage of community uprisings, shocking images of police brutality and crowd-funded fundraising. Past conferences also included research on teaching with social media, the impact of social media on military families, the “Arab Spring,” the implications of social media for businesses, social media activism, social media journalism, and the impact of social media on other traditional media (and vise versa).  

The conference is organized by faculty in the School of Communications at Howard University from the departments of Strategic, Legal, and Management Communications and Media, Journalism, and Film, often with the help of graduate students from the department of Communication, Culture, and Media Studies. For more information, visit the conference website: www.socialmediatechnologyconference.com.