2022 Workshops, Tutorials & Panels

Note: There is no need to sign up in advance for the workshops and tutorials. Participation in the workshops and tutorials are included in the regular registration rate.

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Panel: Misinformation during the Russia-Ukraine War with Tanya Lokot, Dublin City University; Maria Giovanna Sessa, EU DisinfoLab; Larissa Doroshenko, Northeastern University; Moderator: Anatoliy Gruzd, Toronto Metropolitan University
July 18 – 11:30-12:45pm (EDT)

Abstract: Ukraine has long been a target for the Kremlin’s disinformation campaigns. Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has employed a variety of ‘information operation’ tactics to undermine the Ukrainian government and destabilize Ukrainian society. For example, Russia deployed a network of paid internet trolls via the Internet Research Agency to spread disinformation in and about Ukraine. The use of these tactics have only intensified during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The panel of experts will discuss their research tracking the spread of dis- and misinformation related to the 2022 Russia-Ukraine war on social media. Each panelist will be given ~5 minutes to make an opening statement situating their current work in this area. Once the opening statements are done, the panel will turn into a Q&A session where the moderator and the audience would be able to ask each panelist questions about their research projects.

Tutorial: WeChat: Methods and best research practices with Jinman Zhang, Western University; Anabel Quan-Haase, Western University
July 18 – 1:00-2:15pm (EDT)

Abstract: WeChat is the most popular social media platform in China and one of the largest social media platforms globally. WeChat research is only starting to gain momentum, creating a need for more systematic understandings of its methodological opportunities and challenges. The tutorial aims to serve as a guide for scholars interested in conducting either a quantitative or qualitative study of WeChat. We first review some of the frequently used methods for WeChat scholarship and discuss opportunities and challenges related to sampling, language, censorship, and recruitment. Our focus is mostly on practical questions and decisions related to WeChat scholarship. Then, we discuss two types of WeChat data collection approaches: collection of data on individual users and collection of data on Official Accounts. As part of our demo, we will demonstrate how data can be collected from Official Accounts through third-party search engines, discussing both the benefits and drawbacks of this approach. We also look at data analysis approaches often used to study WeChat including qualitative, quantitative, computational, and mixed methods. Finally, we present a set of best practices for conducting WeChat scholarship. Following the tutorial, we will lead a discussion focusing on research methods and ethical challenges related WeChat research. The tutorial provides opportunities for social media researchers to understand WeChat. The discussion on methodologies and best research practices allows researchers to embrace opportunities provided by WeChat while being prepared for the challenges that can arise.

Tutorial: Temporal trends in word usage within Twitter profile biographies with Jason J. Jones, Stony Brook University
July 18 – 2:30-3:45pm (EDT)

Abstract: This tutorial will demonstrate that social media data can be used to study both personal, individual development and macro, population-level cultural trends. The audience will learn how to use open-access data summarizing temporal trends in word usage within Twitter profile biographies. These bios are users’ response to the prompt “Describe yourself in 160 characters or less” and are thus succinct self-authored self-descriptions. The presenter will demonstrate to the audience how to download, interpret and visualize such data.

Tutorial: Introduction to Social Media Network Analysis with NodeXL with Marc A. Smith, Social Media Research Foundation; Harald Meier, Social Media Research Foundation; Wasim Ahmed, Stirling University
July 18 – 4:00-5:15pm (EDT)

Abstract: The tutorial will introduce the concepts of networks, social networks, and social media networks through the use of the NodeXL Pro and INSIGHTS applications. The tutorial will provide an easy on-ramp to collection, analysis, visualization, and discovery of patterns in social media data sets. No programming skills are required to generate useful data artifacts that can reveal the segmentation and leadership of collections of social media messages.

🎲 Social Media Quiz Night
July 18 – 6:30-7:30pm (EDT)

Mark your calendars for July 18th at 6:30 PM (EDT) and join us on the #SMSociety Zoom link for an hour of fun, friendly competition… and prizes!!! Come and meet fellow attendees and test your knowledge of social media research and #SMSociety history. 


  1. You don’t need to pre-sign ups for Quiz Night. Simply join us online at 6:30 PM (EDT) on July 18th via the conference Zoom link (to be provided to the conference attendees within 48 hours of the event)
  2. You will compete in a group of 3 people (randomly assigned), so it will be a great way to meet fellow attendees! 
  3. There will be two short rounds: Round One: ten questions testing your knowledge of social media research; Round Two: ten question about the #SMSociety conference.
  4. If your team wins, you and your teammates can choose ONE of these fabulous prizes:
    • a 6-month subscription to Communalytic – a new computational social science research tool for studying online communities and discourse. Communalytic can collect social media data (Reddit, CrowdTangle, and Twitter), analyze text and patterns of relations, pinpoint toxic interactions, detect bots, assess sentiments in posts and identify influencers.
    • a 12-month subscription to Netlytic – a text and social networks analyzer that can automatically summarize public conversations and discover communication networks from Twitter, YouTube, blogs, online forums and chats.
    • a CAD$50 gift card

Tutorial: Error framework in social media research with Leon Fröhling, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences; Indira Sen, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences; Katrin Weller, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences and CAIS – Center for Advanced Internet Studies
July 19 – 8:30-9:45am (EDT)

Abstract: With this tutorial, we aim to introduce the idea of using an error framework for structured reflection on and documentation of potential pitfalls and limitations in social media research. The audience may expect to learn about the advantages of using an error-focussed framework for the identification and documentation of systematic errors in their area of research with digital behavioral data from social media platforms. After the session you will know: 1) how error frameworks in general can be useful tools for critical and generative reflection on research processes, 2) what types of systematic errors these frameworks can help to detect in the collection of social media research data, and 3) how data documentation approaches can be built on top of such error frameworks.

You will be able to: 1) abstract from challenges you have encountered in their own past research to more general views on research with social media data, 2) apply concepts from an error-focussed documentation framework to critically reflect on a given research design, and 3) better document the relevant characteristics of their social media data collection processes

Workshop: Serious TikTok – Practices of Informing, Learning, and Explaining Complex Social Reality on TikTok with with Tom Divon, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Tobias Ebbrecht-Hartmann, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
July 19 – 10:00-11:15am (EDT)

Abstract: In recent years, TikTok has become a popular platform for consuming and creating interest-based content in the form of short video memes. On its international launch in 2017, TikTok mainly provided entertaining content such as dance videos and lip-syncing performances. The platform has since evolved into a virtual playground for sharing and negotiating serious social topics, including war, politics, sexuality, religion, identity, history, and collective memories. In this workshop, we evaluate the potential of TikTok for earnest information-driven and interest-based content by analyzing related trends on the platform and creating a working definition for the format of “serious TikTok.” The four main objectives of the collaborations in the workshop will be (1) getting acquainted with TikTok’s unique features, trends, and dialects through a profound exploration, (2) developing a better understanding of how TikTok’s memetic power affords peer education and community building by analyzing popular techniques for sharing serious content, (3) constituting a critical TikTok literacy that will assist in “reading” the medium not solely in terms of technology, but also in cultural, social, and political terms, and finally (4) allowing academics, as educators of young users, to build an informed critical stance for evaluating this new media environment of TikTok as a platform that connects youth to burning affairs, encouraging and inflaming their participation in an architecture that resembles no other social media platform, based on virality and algorithmic amplification.

Tutorial: Computational Approaches to Studying Anti-Social Behaviour in Social Media with Anatoliy Gruzd, Toronto Metropolitan University; Alyssa Saiphoo, Toronto Metropolitan University
July 19 – 11:30am-12:45pm (EDT)

Abstract: In less than a generation, social media has moved into the center of modern life. It has altered many aspects of our daily lives, from how we form and maintain social relationships to how we discover, access and share information online. However, the same platforms have also given way to troublesome anti-social behaviours such as online trolling, cyberbullying, and expressions of hate speech. In some online communities, what is commonly referred to as ‘anti-social’ may be a communal norm and a way to socialize. However, that is not the case in most online communities where such behaviour may negatively affect the overall group cohesion and may have psychological and emotional consequences for individual social media users. This tutorial will demonstrate how to use automated content analysis to detect and study anti-social behaviours in social media. The session will introduce and discuss advantages and disadvantages of two common approaches often used to detect instances of ‘anti-social’ behaviour in online discourse: lexicon-based and machine learning approaches. It will conclude with the introduction of Communalytic, a new online research tool for studying online communities.

Optional pre-prerequisites:

  1. Create a free Communalytic EDU account at https://communalytic.com/
  2. Request free access to Google’s Perspective API. See how at https://communalytic.com/video-tutorials/tutorial-3-api-key/
  3. Download and install Gephi on your computer: https://gephi.org/users/download/

Panel: Platform Governance from a Global Perspective with Dal Yong Jin, Simon Fraser University; Ariadna Matamoros Fernández, Queensland University of Technology; Eugenia Siapera, University College Dublin; Tomiwa Illori, Pretoria (South Africa); Divyansha Sehgal, Centre for Internet and Society; Pranav Bidare, Centre for Internet and Society; Robert Gorwa, WZB Berlin Social Science Center (Moderator); Paloma Viejo Otero, Dublin City University (Moderator)
July 19 – 3:15-4:30pm (EDT)

Abstract: This panel will reflect upon the rapidly growing research area of platform governance from a global perspective. The presenters will the following two points: with the aim of exploring: (1) How the concept of platform governance provides explanatory power — and where it fails to do so — when applied to the academic and policy discourse in countries and languages that are not the US/EU and English; (2) How platform governance actually functions in various regions from a policy perspective, and to what extent the realities of platform governance can be shown to meaningfully differ for governments/civil society/journalists/individuals in different parts of the world.

Workshop: Early Career Scholars Workshop with Zachary J. McDowell, University of Illinois at Chicago; Jenna Jacobson, Toronto Metropolitan University; Andrew Iliadis, Temple University; Kelley Cotter, Pennsylvania State University; Shaheen Kanthawala, University of Alabama
July 20 – 10am-1pm (EDT)

Abstract: This workshop brings early career scholars together to address unique issues they face, develop strategies to achieve career goals, and foster a professional network of social media scholars. We define “early career scholars” as people who have completed the requirements for their terminal degree, but have not advanced to the next level in their field or industry (i.e. post-docs, non-tenured faculty, junior industry researchers). The International Conference on Social Media & Society (#SMSociety) brings together an interdisciplinary mix of scholars and this workshop provides an opportunity to foster community among emerging scholars and to create bridges between junior and senior scholars. We aim to continue working toward making this community as inclusive and representative as possible.

A panel of established scholars will also share their insight and experiences:

  • Andre Brock, Georgia Tech
  • Caroline Haythornthwaite, Syracuse University
  • Sarah J. Jackson, University of Pennsylvania
  • Bill Dutton, University of Southern California

Workshop: Social Network Analysis (SNA) for Social Media Research with Felipe Bonow Soares, Toronto Metropolitan University; Deena Abul-Fottouh, McMaster University; Anatoliy Gruzd, Toronto Metropolitan University; Alessandro Zonin, Socioviz
July 20 – 1:30-4:30pm (EDT)

Abstract: This workshop will teach how to use Social Network Analysis to analyze various datasets coming from social media. The first part of the workshop will introduce basic SNA principles, including concepts such as network density, diameter, centrality measures, community detection algorithms, etc. The second part of the workshop will focus on how to use R to perform hypothesis testing using the Latent Order Logistic (LOLOG) models. For example, participants will learn how to use LOLOG to test whether there is a tendency of online participants to connect to other users based on common characteristics such as the number of followers or their location. At the end of the workshop, participants will have a general understanding of SNA and how it can be used to analyze data from social media data, what research questions it can help you answer, and how social media data and SNA can be used in their own research.

Tentative Outline for the SNA workshop

1:30 – 1:45  Welcome Remarks (Anatoliy Gruzd)

1:45 – 2:30  Communication Networks (Felipe Bonow Soares)

2:30 – 3:15  Semantic Networks (Alessandro Zonin)

3:15 – 3:30 Break

3:30 – 4:30  Hypothesis testing with Exponential Random Graph Models (Deena Abul-Fottouh)

Optional pre-prerequisites:

  1. Create a free Netlytic account at https://netlytic.org
  2. In Netlytic, under “My Account”, link your Twitter account to your Netlytic account.
  3. Download and install Gephi on your computer: https://gephi.org/users/download/
  4. Create a free Socioviz account at https://socioviz.net
  5. Download and install RStudio Desktop on your computer from https://www.rstudio.com/products/rstudio/download/#download
  6. In RStudio, install the following libraries: network, sna, ergm, statnet