This course will explore the roles, functions and increasing embeddedness of interpersonal, social, technologically-mediated networks in our everyday lives and quotidian practices. We will consider social media beyond superficial understandings of software use in order to engage in debates regarding the consequences of new media for our culture, relationships, political economy and social institutions. Students will gain an understanding of 'social media' that extends far beyond Facebook – instead, through active participation, exploration and reading of various different theories, platforms and perspectives, students will consider facets of new media that have the potential to both support and hinder sociality. Using a variety of online social media and drawing on multi-disciplinary academic literature, this course will delve into dominant, contemporary discourses about technology and society.

Required Texts:

Pasquale, F. (2015) The Black Box Society. Harvard University Press.

Gauntlett, D. (2011). Making is Connecting. Polity Press.
Shirky, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody. Penguin Paperbacks.

NOTE: Additional readings (both required and recommended) must be accessed via Blackboard [**]

Sites of Interaction
Course blog:
Facebook: “SMC316 Social Technology and Networks
Twitter: follow @smgrimes & use hashtag #SMC316

Course Organization:

This course consists of a weekly 2-hour seminar held on Wednesdays from 2pm-4pm. In addition to completing weekly assigned readings in advance of the lecture, students are expected to contribute regularly to online social networking activities (and content) outside of scheduled class time.

Course Assignments and Related Materials:
Supplementary course materials, assignment details, resources, links and lecture slides will provided in lecture, on this course blog, via Blackboard and through the various social networking sites engaged with in this class (to be elected by majority vote during the first week).

Ground Rules: 
Each student in this course is responsible for keeping up with the course materials, which includes (all) the required course readings, videos and websites, as well as topics, debates and concepts discussed in class. Students are expected to attend lectures and to take their own lecture notes (Prezi printouts are a sad substitute for your own thoughts and observations). You are expected to participate in class discussions, and are encouraged to use your laptops/mobile devices during class to look up relevant information that will contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way. At all times, remember to be respectful of the instructor and of your classmates–turn off the sound on your computer AND phone, and do NOT browse sites that may be offensive or illegal, or that might be deemed irrelevant to the task of taking this course. Students should arrive to lecture on time and stay for the duration. If you miss a class, you are entirely responsible for obtaining any information or materials given in class. Unauthorized recordings of the lectures are not permitted.

Students with a Disability or Health Consideration: 
Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. If you have a disability or health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach the instructor and/or the Accessibility Services Office ( as soon as possible. The Accessibility Services staff is available by appointment to assess specific needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations. The sooner arrangements are made - the quicker we can assist you.

Academic Integrity:
This course has a strict zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism, as defined in section B.I.1. (d) of the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. Before you embark on your first writing assignment, make sure you: