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Social Media and Society


2022 Conference talks archive


Session 1: Democracy and Institutions


Chair: Matthew Hull, Chair, Center for South Asia Studies, University of Michigan


Resisting Erasure: Social Media & the Campaign against Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan

Nida Yasmeen Kirmani, Associate Professor of Sociology, Lahore University of Management Sciences (Twitter)


Countering the "Toolkit" Attack on India's Leading Opposition Party

Rajeev Gowda, Former Member of Parliament, India (Twitter)



Democracy or Demagoguery? An Assessment of Social Media's Role in Shaping Politics and Society in Sri Lanka

A’ndre Gonawela, Podcaster (Spotify)



#IStandWithKDF: Social Media & the New Military Normal in Kenya

Samar Al Bulushi, Assistant Professor, University of California, Irvine (Twitter) – VIA ZOOM





11.00 AM – 12:00 PM, April 7, 2022 (US Eastern Time), 2435 North Quad

How social media unmade and made me: the changing contours of celebrity identity and activism in 'New India

Swara Bhaskar, Actor and Activist (Twitter, Instagram)




Discussant: Swapnil Rai, Assistant Professor of Film, Television and Media, University of Michigan


Session 2: Internet Subcultures

1:00 PM - 2.50 PM, April 7, 2022 (US Eastern Time), 2435 North Quad


Chair: Ram Mahalingam, Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan


Sex Scandals in Digital Kinshasa. Influencers, diasporas, and ritual innovation in a digitized world ,

Katrien Pype, Associate Professor, KU Leuven



Love (and Hate) In the Time of Instagram

Priya Ramani, Journalist, Founder IndiaLove project (Instagram)



The Khabar Lahariya Story: Digital Waves in India's Hinterland

Meera Devi, Journalist (YouTube, Twitter)



Social Media hierarchies and their subversion by marginalised creators on the digital landscape

Priyanka Paul, Artist (Instagram)


Session 3: New Voices Online


Chair: Mustafa Naseem, Clinical Assistant Professor of Information, University of Michigan


Social Media activism during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal

Bal Krishna Sharma, Assistant Professor, University of Idaho


Strategies and practices of Bangladeshi Facebook microcelebrities in sociopolitical discourses

Dipto Das, PhD Student, University of Colorado (Twitter)



How TikTok took over Pakistani working class

Nighat Dad, Lawyer and Activist, Digital Rights Foundation, Facebook Independent Oversight Board (Twitter)


Cultural Netizenship and the Production of the Social Media Influencer in Nigeria

James Yeku, Assistant Professor, University of Kansas


Session 4: Fireside Chat


Social Media as Resistance

Rumman Chowdhury, Director, META (ML Ethics, Transparency, and Accountability), Twitter (Twitter)

in conversation with

Libby Hemphill, Associate Professor of Information, University of Michigan (Twitter)



Day 2: April 8, 2022


Session 5: The Business of Influencing


Chair: Bilal Butt, Associate Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan


The politics of corporate Twitter engagement: a comparative analysis of India and the US

Shehla Rashid, Jawaharlal Nehru University (Twitter) – VIA ZOOM


India's Social Media Marketing Revolution

Hardik Rajgor, Writer (Twitter)


Entrepreneurship, Yoruba Nollywood and Social Media in Africa

Olubunmi Ojediran (Ruby Sparkling), Actor, Entreprenuer (Instagram)



Session 6: Comedy and Power


Chair: Rebekah Modrak, Professor, Stamps School of Art and Design University of Michigan


At the risk of sounding funny

Swineryy, Comedian (Instagram)


Using sarcasm to mobilise dissent in a nation where facts don’t matter

Aakar Patel, Author, Chair, Amnesty International India (Twitter)


Whose LAN is it anyway: A Study of Internet sub-cultures in India

Anurag Minus Verma, Podcaster, Columnist (Instagram, Spotify)



Beyond Entertainment - Role of YouTube Influencers In India

Akash Banerjee, Satirist (YouTube, Instagram)




Session 7: Information Freedom


Chair: Howard Stein, Professor, Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan


Misinformation and Hate Speech on WhatsApp in India

Kiran Garimella, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University (Twitter) -IN PERSON



Killing Digital Freedom with the Hammer: The Folly of Social Media Regulation in Nigeria

Aminu Mahmud, Human Rights Lawyer, Essayist, Poet (Twitter)


Social Media: Enabling our Dissent & Destroying our Democracy

Josy Joseph, Investigative Journalist and Author (Twitter)



Social Media Fueling Rights-Based Resistance Movements in Pakistan

Gulalai Ismail, Activist (Twitter)




Session 8: Student Session


Political Influencers on Facebook: The role of Informal Agents in Digital Election Campaigns

Neelesh Agrawal, Shivam Gangwani, Ishika Sharan, Ananay Agarwal, Ashoka University


The Social Media Skit Industry in Nigeria: Economy, Power, Tensions

Godwin Iretomiwa Simon, Queensland University of Technology- VIA ZOOM


The Vernacular Influencer: Case Study of an Indic Challenger to Twitter 

Nikhila Natarajan, Rutgers University


From MTV to Modi: The Saffronisation of the Indian Fitness Influencer       

Nandini Rawat, Delhi University


How Influencers Shape Mainstream Media

Aryan Gupta, Delhi University


Defence Veterans as a Political Influence Network in India

Agrima Seth, Soham De, Arshia Arya University of Michigan, Ashoka University, and Microsoft Research India


Tasty Platformization: The Promotional Culture around Food Delivery

Simiran Lalvani, University of Oxford- VIA ZOOM





Symposium Organizers:

Joyojeet Pal, School of Information, University of Michigan

Omolade Adunbi, DAAS, University of Michigan



Janaki Phillips, Elizabeth James


Student Session:

Dipto Das, College of Media, Communication and Information, University of Colorado, Boulder

Anmol Panda, School of Information, University of Michigan

Agrima Seth, School of Information, University of Michigan



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