“How does the digital climate on campus affect the actual campus environment? How does social media influence our campus?”
“Researchers in my area reject a dichotomy between “online” vs. “offline”. We think of interactions as being mediated through different information technologies, but because a communication occurs in social media doesn’t make it less real than other forms of communication. Different social media tools have such different features, they can be thought of very separately. YikYak plays a different role on campus than does Venmo, than does Instagram. Social media shapes interaction on our campus by reducing barriers to communication, which can have both positive and negative effects. We see a wide range of both help and harm from our campus social media. Sometimes it drives us apart, but more often I hope it brings us together, provides voice to those who often struggle to be heard, enrich our understanding of people who are different from us, and provides support in the reminder that we all have common ground. But that’s up to us.
I believe social media can be a tool for creating a better world, but like all tools the outcomes are based on how we use it. I’m standing in from of a Blue bus because I’m going with a group of student interaction designers to work with the city of Jackson to create new information tools and applications that can be used to improve the services Jackson offers to people, and to help people find new ways to express their civic lives in Jackson. I’m blown away by the passion and creativity of the undergraduates and graduate students in this class, and what they are doing. This is one small example, for me, of how not only can social media tools be used to create a better world, but how the university can be of service to those around us.”