Keynotes

2020 Keynote: Dr. Sarah J. Jackson

We are delighted to announce Dr. Sarah J. Jackson as our keynote speaker at the 2020 International Conference on Social Media and Society (#SMSociety July 22-24, 2020, Chicago, USA).

Dr. Jackson is a Presidential Associate Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies how media, journalism, and technology are used by and represent marginalized publics, with a focus on communication by and about Black and feminist activists. Her first book Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press (Routledge, 2014) examines the relationship between Black celebrity activism, journalism, and American politics.

Her forthcoming book #Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice (MIT Press, March 2020) focuses on the use of Twitter in contemporary social movements. In this book, she and her co-authors explore how groups long excluded from elite media spaces have used Twitter hashtags to advance counternarratives, preempt political spin, and build diverse networks of dissent. With mixed-methods analysis and origin-stories from hashtag creators, the authors examine the feminist networks that paved the way for #MeToo and investigate the online activism, storytelling, and digital signatures that set the stage for #BlackLivesMatter. Finally, they consider hashtags created by allies and weigh the future of hashtag activism in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Her work has also appeared in the Journal of Communication, the International Journal of Press Politics, and Feminist Media Studies, among others. An advisory board member of the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies, Jackson also sits on the board of the Social Science Research Council’s MediaWell project which maps research on political mis- and disinformation. She was a Fall 2018 fellow in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy, a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and a 2019 New America National Fellow. Jackson is frequently called on as an expert by local and national media outlets including NPR, PBS, the Associated Press, and the New York Times.

Before joining the Annenberg faculty, Jackson was an associate professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University. She holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota and a M.A. in Communication from the University of Michigan.


Past #SMSociety Keynotes

  • Valerie Steeves
    2019 Keynote Speaker
    Full Professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa.
  • Tarleton Gillespie
    2019 Keynote Speaker
    Principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England, and an affiliated associate professor in the Department of Communication and Department of Information Science at Cornell University.
  • Karine Nahon
    2018 Keynote Speaker
    Associate Professor, the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya (IDC), Israel, and an Affiliated Associate Professor at University of Washington
  • Lee Rainie
    2017 Keynote Speaker
    Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project,
  • Ron Deibert
    2017 Keynote Speaker
    Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.
  • Helen Kennedy
    2016 Keynote Speaker
    Professor of Digital Society, University of Sheffield, UK
  • Susan Halford
    2016 Keynote Speaker
    Director, Web Science Institute, University of Southampton, UK
  • William H. Dutton
    2015 Keynote Speaker
    Professor of Media and Information, Director Quello Center, Michigan State University
  • John Weigelt
    2014 Keynote Speaker
    Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Microsoft Canada
  • Keith N. Hampton
    2014 Keynote Speaker
    Associate Professor, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University.
  • Sharad Goel
    2013 Keynote
    Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research
  • Gilad Lotan
    2012 Keynote
    Chief Data Scientist, Betaworks
  • Caroline Haythornthwaite
    2011 Keynote
    Director & Professor, The iSchool, University of British Columbia.
  • Barry Wellman
    2010 Keynote
    The S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, Director Netlab, University of Toronto