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April 2024

Indicators of Social Cohesion in Social Media and Online Media

The Social Media Observatory (SMO) of the Research Institute Social Cohesion (RISC) at the Leibniz-Institute for Media Research | HBI hosts the international Symposium Indicators of Social Cohesion in Social Media and Online Media”,  from April 24 to 26.
Social and online media play a pivotal role in both uniting and dividing communities – ranging from hope during the emergence of democratic movements against authoritarian regimes to threats to political stability in democratic countries posed by increasing polarization fueled by disinformation, anger and fear.

As we navigate the complexities of such developments, understanding the forces that foster or fracture social cohesion is more critical than ever. However, research in this field faces severe challenges, for instance, due to questions of privacy, limited data access from platforms, the need for highly specialized computational knowledge, and costly analysis capabilities.  

This international symposium marks a significant milestone – the end of the SMO’s first four-year funding phase. During that time, the SMO consolidated as a provider of curated datasets and knowledge collections, for technological infrastructures to continuously monitor of public discourses online, and for specialized analysis tools. With our upcoming five-year funding period in sight, we invited an excellent selection of internationally renowned scholars in the field of social media research asking for their take on indicators of social cohesion in their works.

The event will be held in English.


Please register here.

Program of the Symposium
The Symposium will kick off with a Context Collapse, an alternative keynote format that encourages networking and sparks discussion amongst the audience. 

My War is Your Special Operation: How Social Media Reinforce and Undermine Social Cohesion Regarding Russia's War in Ukraine 
Dr. Mykola MakhortykhUniversity of Bern 
Dr. Aleksandra Urman, University of Zurich

Activism and Polarization within the Chinese Digital Diaspora 
Dr. Meg Jing ZengUtrecht University 

Moderation: Jan Rau, RISC Section Hamburg

Keynote Presentations

Dynamics of Destructive Polarization in Mainstream and Social Media 
Prof. Dr. Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology

Online-Communication and Challenges for Social Cohesion. Alternative (Social) Media and the Dissemination of Distrust and Conspiracy Theories
Prof. Dr. Lena Frischlich, University of Southern Denmark

Social Media and Polarization: From Opinions to Identity
Prof. Dr. Petter TörnbergUniversity of Amsterdam

Program (PDF) (Status: 04/23/2024)
Book of Abstracts & Speaker Biographies (PDF) (Status: 04/23/2024)

We have negotiated special rates with several hotels for conference attendees. More information (PDF)

The symposium is organized by Dr. Gregor WiedemannDr. Felix Victor Münch, Jan Rau, PD Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt and Dr. Wiebke Schoon

Infos zur Veranstaltung


betahaus | Schanze
Eifflerstraße 43

Contact person

Dr. Gregor Wiedemann
Senior Researcher Computational Social Sciences

Dr. Gregor Wiedemann

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg
Tel. +49 (0)40 450 21 7 55
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 77

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