2018 #SMSociety Journal Special Issue on “Social Media for Social Good or Evil” in Social Media+Society


Editors: Jeff HemsleyJenna JacobsonAnatoliy Gruzd, & Philip Mai.

Publication date: August 2018

In the heyday of social media, individuals around the world held high hopes for the democratizing force of social media; however, in light of the recent public outcry of privacy violations, fake news, and Russian troll farms, much of optimism towards social media has waned in favor of skepticism, fear, and outrage. This special issue critically explores the question, “Is social media for good or evil?” While good and evil are both moral terms, the research addresses whether the benefits of using social media in society outweigh the drawbacks. To help conceptualize this topic, we examine some of the benefits (good) and drawbacks (evil) of using social media as discussed in eight papers from the 2017 International Conference on Social Media and Society. This thematic collection reflects a broad range of topics, using diverse methods, from authors around the world and highlights different ways that social media is used for good, or evil, or both. We conclude that the determination of good and evil depends on where you stand, but as researchers we need to go a step further to understand who it is good for and who it might hurt.


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Social Media for Social Good or Evil: An Introduction
Jeff Hemsley, Jenna Jacobson, Anatoliy Gruzd, Philip Mai. July 2018.
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The Clickwrap: A Political Economic Mechanism for Manufacturing Consent on Social Media
Jonathan Obar and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch. July 2018.
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How People Weave Online Information Into Pseudoknowledge
Joshua Introne, Irem Gokce Yildirim, Luca Iandoli, Julia Decook and Shaimaa Elzeini. July 2018.
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Refugee or Migrant Crisis? Labels, Perceived Agency, and Sentiment Polarity in Online Discussions
Ju-Sung Lee and Adina Nerghes. July 2018. 
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Visualizing the Paris Climate Talks on Twitter: Media and Climate Stakeholder Visual Social Media During COP21
Jill Hopke and Luis Hestres. July 2018. 
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Twitter Issue Response Hashtags as Affordances for Momentary Connectedness
Chamil Rathnayake and Daniel Suthers. July 2018.
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Cognitive Effects of Social Media Use: A Case of Older Adults
Kelly Quinn. July 2018. 
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Constructing the Platform-Specific Self-Brand: The Labor of Social Media Promotion
Leah Scolere, Urszula Pruchniewska and Brooke E Duffy. July 2018. 
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Social Media, Opinion Polls, and the Use of Persuasive Messages During the 2016 US Election Primaries
Patricia Rossini, Jeff Hemsley, Sikana Tanupabrungsun, Feifei Zhang and Jennifer Stromer-Galley. July 2018. 
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