Excerpt from course description

Social Media and Society


Social media are increasingly permeating all aspects of society, from personal communication between friends, to work life and business transactions, to news consumption and entertainment. In Norway, 85% of the population use social media regularly and for many people, especially young ones, social media constitutes an essential part of their everyday lives. While social media platforms and digital cultures constantly evolve, making it hard to keep abreast of recent trends, academic research offers valuable insights and has investigated social media intensively. This research is often interdisciplinary and situated at the intersection of established academic disciplines such as media and communication, sociology, computer science, psychology, information systems, business administration, economics, political science, philosophy, and law. The community of researchers who study social media and its societal implications have used the term “Social media and society” to describe the field (including a journal and a conference with this name).

The course engages with this field of research and introduces current developments at the intersection of social media and society. A key goal is to equip the students with the knowledge and tools to critically reflect on important social aspects of today’s social media world such as inequality, participation and engagement, (big) data eco-systems, privacy, self-presentation, and digital culture. Next to theoretical knowledge, the students will also gain practical experience through hands-on guest lectures, exercises and assignments.

Course content

  • Introduction: technological change, the relevance of social media and course organization
  • Definitions of social media, history, and affordances
  • The platform eco-system: different social media platforms and their specificities
  • Social media use, digital inequality, and comparative uptake across contexts
  • Self-branding, self-presentation, and impression management on social media
  • Social media marketing: fundamentals, word-of-mouth, and influencer marketing, case study and practical
  • Digital culture and social media community dynamics
  • Privacy, data protection, and dataveillance
  • Trust dynamics on social media
  • The future of social media


This is an excerpt from the complete course description for the course. If you are an active student at BI, you can find the complete course descriptions with information on eg. learning goals, learning process, curriculum and exam at portal.bi.no. We reserve the right to make changes to this description.