Academic Uses of Social Media: Exploring 21st Century Communications

Tuesday, May 3 – 12:00-2:15 pm

Webcast Event; the live webcast of this event will be available at the following URL: at 12 pm on 5/3

Co-sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development & Diversity at Harvard and the Harvard Office of News and Public Affairs

Social media — from blogs to wikis to tweets — have become academic media, new means by which scholars communicate, collaborate, and teach. Hear from a distinguished faculty panel, moderated by John Palfrey, about how they are adopting and adapting to new communication and networking tools, following a keynote by social media thought leader danah boyd.

12:00 PM Introductory remarks, John Palfrey, Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law; Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School; Faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society

12:10 PM:  Keynote: Embracing a Culture of Connectivity, danah boyd, Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and affiliate of the  Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society

Many young adults have incorporated social media into their daily practices, both academically and personally. They use these tools to connect, collaborate, communicate and create. This talk will examine the different social media practices common among young adults, clarifying both the cultural logic behind these everyday practices, and the role of social media in academia.

1:00 PM  Faculty Panel: Academic Uses of Social Media, moderated by John Palfrey

Michael Sandel, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University

Professor Sandel’s course “Justice” is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on public television.  A website including lecture videos, discussion guides, poll questions, and other resources has generated discussion among students and other viewers around the world.  The website is currently being updated to make greater use of social media tools.

Nancy Koehn, James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

So much of the information we receive and send on the overflowing river ways of social media is immediate and detached from a historical frame or often, from any kind of larger frame or context whatsoever. What does it mean for a society to increasingly default into reliance on immediacy and brevity and widespread access as the ne plus ultra in knowledge creation? Knowledge is more than access to information, and wisdom is more than knowledge accumulation. How can we use social networks to create strong foundations for right action and sound choices?

N. Gregory Mankiw, Professor of Economics, Harvard University

Over the past several years, Professor Mankiw has maintained a blog, originally aimed at students in his undergraduate course Ec 10, but eventually reaching a much larger audience.  He will talk about the pros and cons of such academic blogging.

Harry R. Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University

2:00PM Social media resources at Harvard, Perry Hewitt, Director, Digital Communications and Communications Services at Harvard University