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Understanding Social Media - SOC00003M

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  • Department: Sociology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Kath Bassett
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

What is the relationship between digital media and society? This module presents a range of relevant topics that emerge from the growth of social media platforms in our everyday lives.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module presents you with a range of recent debates and developments around different digital platforms, particularly social media ones, providing you with a socio-cultural perspective on them. You will be engaging critically with the main conceptual approaches to understanding the impact of social media on different aspects of individual and social life.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the socio-cultural impacts of social media on individual and social life, and its use across different cultures;

  2. Critically discuss and reflect on recent cases, debates and examples to understand how social media are permeating a range of social institutions and practices;

  3. Analyse the social, economic, cultural and political factors shaping the design of social media and their diffusion into society;

  4. Critically evaluate social media's ambiguous nature as both surveillance tools and artefacts for social expression and creativity.


Task Length % of module mark
Critical Analysis
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Critical Analysis
N/A 100

Module feedback

For formative work - presentation- students will receive written or verbal feedback on how to improve their skills in areas that will contribute towards their summative assessment. The feedback will be aimed at how to build and present a case for a sociological analysis, which will provide practice with the summative assessment which is in line with MLO particularly 2-4.

For summative work - Critical Analysis - students will receive an overall mark and grading in line with the criteria, assessing the skills in writing, presentation of the case and use of the conceptual and theoretical knowledge acquired through the module in line with LOs 1-4. They will also receive written feedback showing areas in which they have done well and those areas in which they need to improve that will contribute to their progress.

Indicative reading

Burgess, J., Marwick, A., Poell, T., 2018. The SAGE Handbook of Social Media. SAGE Publications Ltd

Fuchs, C., 2013. Social Media. A critical understanding, SAGE.

Evans, L., 2015. Locative social media: Place in the digital age. Springer.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.