Contact FutureLearn for Support Why We Post - Online Course Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.
Online course

Why We Post: the Anthropology of Social Media

Discover the varying uses of social media around the world and its consequences for politics, relationships and everyday life.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its length + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Why We Post: the Anthropology of Social Media

Why join the course?

This free online course is based on the work of nine anthropologists who each spent 15 months in fieldsites in Brazil, Chile, industrial and rural China, England, India, Italy, Trinidad and Turkey.

What are the consequences of social media?

The course offers a new definition of social media which concentrates on the content posted, not just the capabilities of platforms. It examines the increasing importance of images in communication and the reasons why people post memes, selfies and photographs.

Over five weeks you will explore the impact of social media on a wide range of topics including politics, education, gender, commerce, privacy and equality. You will come to understand how the consequences of social media vary from region to region.

Take a comparative and anthropological approach to social media

The course will be taught by the same nine anthropologists who carried out the original fieldwork and who are publishing eleven books based on this research.

You will meet many of our informants through our films, engage with our team through video discussions and lectures, and encounter our ideas through animations, infographics and text.

Adopting an anthropological and comparative approach, we strive to understand not only how social media has changed the world, but how the world has changed social media.

To learn more about our research, see the Why We Post website or read our blog. If you have a question about the project, email whywepost@ucl.ac.uk.

Translations of this course can be found on UCLeXtend in the following languages: Chinese, Italian, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil and Turkish.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

  • What is social media and how should we define it?
  • Academic approaches to social media and an introduction to anthropology.
  • The rise of images in communication.
  • The impact of social media on gender and politics.
  • The impact of social media on education, commerce and privacy.
  • The impact of social media on inequality.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Apply critical thinking to a range of cross-cultural qualitative and quantitative evidence.
  • Asses social media from an anthropological perspective and conduct mini research projects.
  • Compare one's own perspective on social media to those from other cultural backgrounds.

Who is the course for?

The only requirement is an interest in social media and people.

Who will you learn with?

Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller is Professor of Anthropology at University College London. He developed the Digital Anthropology programme at UCL. @DannyAnth

Elisabetta Costa

Elisabetta Costa is a postdoctoral research fellow at the British Institute at Ankara. She is an anthropologist specialised in the study of media and digital media in Turkey and the Middle-East.

Jolynna Sinanan

Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow at the Digital Ethnography Research Centre and the School of Media and Communications at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia.

Juliano Spyer

i am currently finishing my phd in anthropology, studying social media.

Laura Haapio-Kirk

I am a research assistant at UCL Anthropology, managing the Global Social Media Impact Study (Why We Post). I am also an illustrator. www.facebook.com/laurahaapiokirk www.twitter.com/LauraLHK

Nell Haynes

I am a postdoctoral researcher in anthropology

Razvan Nicolescu

I am an Honorary Research Associate at the Department of Anthropology, UCL.

Shriram Venkatraman

PhD scholar at the Dept. of Anthropology, University College London. Anthropologist/Statistician. Research Interests: Technologies in Workplace, Org Culture & Entrepreneurship. @venkatshriram

Tom McDonald

I'm an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, The University of Hong Kong. Member of the UCL Why We Post team. http://twitter.com/AnthroTom | http://sociology.hku.hk/mcdonald

Xinyuan Wang

PhD candidate at the Dept. of Anthropology at UCL. An artist in Chinese traditional painting and calligraphy (www.visualethnographyxy.co.uk) Twitter@amberwanguk

Who developed the course?

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £39.00

Statement of Participation £34.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join: