Social Media and the Culture of Connectivity

Professor José van Dijck
Event date
Event time
Foundation for Law, Justice and Society
Wolfson College
Linton Road
Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

In less than a decade, social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn have come to deeply penetrate our daily habits of communication and socializing. While most sites started out as amateur-driven community platforms, virtually all have turned into large corporations that do not just facilitate global connections, but have become global data mining companies.

This lecture will reflect on how social media have become normalized in everyday life: what has become the meaning of social activities such as 'sharing', 'liking', 'following', and 'trending' in a world dominated by Facebook and Twitter? And what are the implications of the fact that large portions of everyday life are increasingly commercialized and engineered through social media?

Facebook's and Twitter's algorithms do not simply reflect our behaviour and habits, but actively steer and manipulate social activities. At the heart of the social media industry's surge is the battle over information control: who owns the data generated by online social activities? The lecture addresses the question of user power in the ecosystem of connective media.

A workshop the following day, 29 April, will explore the themes raised in the lecture in further detail.

José van Dijck is a professor of Comparative Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, where she also served as the Dean of Humanities. Her visiting appointments include MIT, UC Santa Cruz, Concordia University Montreal, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Technology, Sydney. Her latest book is titled The Culture of Connectivity. A Critical History of Social Media, published by Oxford University Press (2013).

To find out more, and to reserve your place, please visit