Social Media & Society conference at Ryerson this weekend

Attendees at Ryerson's Social Media & Society conference last year. (Courtesy socialland via Flickr)

Attendees at Ryerson’s Social Media & Society conference last year. (Courtesy socialland via Flickr)

Ryerson is hosting more than 200 academics at its fifth-annual Social Media and Society conference this weekend.

The two-day event is taking place at the Ted Rogers School of Management, where researchers are to present and discuss the “impact and implications” of social media, according to the event’s website.

International presenters from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Turkey, among others, will speak on the way the Internet affects social movements, how it’s used for public relations and activism and even selfies.

Riki Thompson, an associate professor at the University of Washington Tacoma, is presenting her research on selfie-bios. She says the term refers to users posting selfies alongside an autobiographical narrative explaining why he or she should be accepted into an online community.

Riki Thompson will be presenting at this year's conference. (Courtesy Riki Thompson)

Riki Thompson will be presenting at this year’s conference. (Courtesy Riki Thompson)

Anatoliy Gruzd, an associate professor at Ryerson and the head organizer of the event, said Thompson, was invited to speak because her research was voted to be one of the top presentations by her academic peers.

“We’re all approaching the analysis of big data, but from different angles,” he says. “The research becomes better when you have multiple groups approaching the same problem from multiple aspects, and sharing their insights with each other.”

Gruzd says the conference will combine researchers from multiple disciplines because social media touches so many aspects of people’s lives.

Philip Mai, a conference organizer, said:  “Social media is like tofu. It takes on whatever flavour that you add to it. So you just bring the sauce and it becomes that.”

With files from Laura Calabrese

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