2021 Call for Papers, Workshops, Panels

Virtual Social Media Symposium

Tentative Date: September 30 – Oct. 1, 2021

Cathy Hughes School of Communications

 Call for papers, panel proposals, posters, audio, video and interactive presentations

From COVID-19 to the ballot box: Social media and race-based disinformation in 2020 and beyond

The NAACP has said disinformation—falsehoods and rumors, purposefully meant to cause harm—is “a perpetual attempt to tarnish and erode our democracy.”  

The theme of this year’s Social Media Symposium focuses on dissecting how disinformation campaigns used real-world instances of systemic racism to discourage Black participation in COVID vaccination protocols, voting and debates about reexamining police power following the murder of George Floyd. Social media recommendation algorithms control what we see and when, based on previous engagement habits, pushing some of us into filter bubbles designed to convince us the earth is flat (yes, that is a real Facebook community endorsed by NBA player Kyrie Irving). The problem is when these communities convince social media users elections have been stolen and lead to Jim Crow-era mob violence like we saw at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Journalists at the MIT Tech Review discovered the spread of dis- and misinformation that are part of the Facebook business model. However, opportunities for foreign-based Internet trolls to control the national discourse have not been stopped at Facebook and have found their way into mainstream news and information outlets.

The interdisciplinary conference seeks to discuss this and more. The presentations during the two-day virtual conference will examine these challenges and new possibilities as social media matures into the mainstream, and it will create opportunities for scholars, practitioners and observers to make more informed assessments about the information appearing on their social media timelines, and often in the news media, and how it impacts their analogue lives.

The Symposium also will provide a special track for graduate students and undergraduate journalism and communications students. Select students will receive grants to work with a mentor to develop research for the conference. Students will present research papers, posters, reported articles and interactive pieces related to the conference theme. Their work will appear on the student-focused fact-checking site, TruthBeTold.news and selected students will receive monetary awards for exemplary work in these categories: History, Current Events, News Reporting, Multimedia (audio, video, mixed media).

To submit, click here: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=smtcw21

Submission Guidelines

Paper SubmissionsRespondents for this category should submit a 3-5 page proposal that includes an overview of the study as well as research design that includes brief review of the literature, methodology and findings, if possible. with a 100-word abstract. All respondents in this paper category should clearly identify the submission type on their proposal and send the proposal through EasyChair by August 27, 2021 at the following site:  https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=smtcw21

Panel SubmissionsRespondents should submit a 3-5 page proposal addressing the purpose of the panel and specific issue(s) to be covered. The proposal should include a list of the confirmed guests or those who will be solicited for the panel as well as their brief biographies. In addition to the proposal, a file should be uploaded with a 100-word description of the proposed panel as well as a 100-word biography for each presenter. Submission without the biography will be rejected. Presenters will be notified by early September of the status of their acceptance and should register to attend the conference by September 1, 2021. All respondents in this category should send the proposal through EasyChair by August 27, 2021 at the following site: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=smtcw21

Workshop SubmissionsRespondents should submit a 1-page proposal addressing the purpose of the workshop, details about the technology, social media trend or tool to be explored and what attendees will gain from attending it. Workshops are scheduled for 90 minutes, so content should be sufficient enough to fill the time slot. If applicable, the proposal should include a list of the confirmed guests or those who will be solicited for the workshops as well as their brief biographies. In addition to the proposal, a file should be uploaded with a 100-word description of the proposed workshop as well as a 100-word biography accompanied by a photograph for each workshop presenter. Submission without the biography will be rejected. All respondents in this category should send the proposal through EasyChair by August 27, 2021 at the following site: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=smtcw21

Student Submissions

The Symposium also will provide a special track for graduate students and undergraduate journalism and communications students. Students will present research papers, posters, reported articles and interactive pieces related to the conference theme. Their work will appear on the student-focused fact-checking site, TruthBeTold.news and selected students will receive monetary awards for exemplary work in these categories: History, Current Events, News Reporting, Multimedia (audio, video, mixed media). All respondents in the studentcategory should clearly identify the submission type on their proposal and send the proposal through EasyChair by August 27, 2021 at the following site: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=smtcw21

Contact: Ingrid Sturgis, isturgis@howard.edu

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