By Lee Pinkerton
From Russian hackers and fake ‘bot’ accounts to the tweets of President Trump, the huge effect which social media has on life in the modern world is an undeniable reality. In an effort to explore some of these issues, the University of East London (UEL) hosted its fourth annual Affect and Social Media Conference in November.
The conference, held at UEL's University Square Stratford building, was organised by Dr Tony D Sampson, Reader in Digital Media Cultures and Communications.
Dr Sampson said, “Social media has proved to be a challenging force in the world, but these platforms are neither good nor bad, per se. They have not developed in isolation of politics, economics, business agendas, and cultural life. If we see good or bad things then it is associated in some way to a particular context. This conference explores social media in the context of the emotional and felt experiences people have with these technologies.”
The conference included lectures, panel presentations, discussions, a performance by the music and art outfit Sensorium, and an after-conference book launch of Affect and Social Media: Emotion, Mediation, Anxiety and Contagion, edited by Dr Sampson, Dr Stephen Maddison and Dr Darren Ellis.
Dr Sampson said: "I'm very pleased to say that our Affect and Social Media conference and art show have once again attracted a very large international and interdisciplinary audience. This is confirmation that these events and publications are having a fantastic global impact."
"The international network we’ve developed around Affect and Social Media is expanding each year. This is great for UEL and its international research profile. I’m looking forward to working with colleagues in psychology, the arts, social sciences, computing and digital industries on planning future events."