EMSOC - User empowerment in a social media culture


Due to the fundamental change of media and communication, we are entering a social media culture. There is a shift from mass media and personal media to media for “mass self-communication”. Mediated communication becomes increasingly participative and personalized by means of social computing (web 2.0). The user is hereby the central actor to a certain extent.

The goal of this project is to critically assess the belief of the user being (dis)empowered in a social media culture.

The research on user empowerment in a social media culture is structured around three main areas of interest:

  1. Inclusion: there is no automatic link between social media and user empowerment as not all users are able, willing or even permitted to be involved and to participate through digital media.
  2. Media literacy: not all users have the required capabilities to optimally use and apply social computing in their own life and work.
  3. Privacy: to what extent are users self-reflexive about and sufficiently aware of changes in privacy and personal data, i.e. how their digital activities are being monitored, processed, analyzed and commodified by third parties.

Duration of the project

The project runs from 01/12/2010 - 30/11/2014.

Staff involved

  • Prof. Pieter Verdegem
  • Hadewijch Vanwynsberghe
  • Louise Haspeslagh

Financed by

  • IWT

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