Explore online identity, social media communities and their users alongside the most common ethical debates in social media.

12,474 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • Digital upgrade


Become an effective and constructive social media user

Social media connects us across space and time, allowing us to find like-minded communities and participate creatively in public life as never before. We may often use social media without thinking much about the possible consequences. But there is a shadow side associated with social media use, which takes the form of hate speech, increased surveillance, lack of anonymity and questionable use of our data. What do we need to know to use social media spaces effectively, in a way that is safe and productive for all?

This course, delivered by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, will guide you into a deeper exploration of online identity, social media communities and their users. You will examine the ways that social media is being used by public institutions such as government to build participation and conversation with audiences. You will encounter the most common ethical debates in social media.

You will also have the opportunity to build your practical skills by developing your professional social media profile, defining your audience, building your social media influence and understanding how to interpret data analytics to “listen” and communicate well.

This course is part of our Study with Australia collection, with free upgrades and digital certificates supported by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission until 31st July, 2020. Explore more courses from leading Australian education providers.

What topics will you cover?

  • Explore social media data analytics, and the algorithms behind the advertisements you are served
  • Examine the concepts of being social, of self-representation, online identity and publishing
  • Examine who the users of social media are, how they use it and their motivations
  • Consider accusations of social media organisations exploiting their users

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Define what social media is
  • Express the main ethical issues that concern you
  • Discuss ideas around online identity and self-representation
  • Distinguish between communities and networks
  • Give examples of 'produsage'
  • Describe the concept of collaborative cultural production
  • Explain how media agencies engage users in participatory projects
  • Explain the role social media plays in institutional co-creation
  • Give examples of how cultural institutions are incorporating participatory culture into their production methodologies
  • Recognize the precarious labour models around the production and consumption of social media content
  • Interpret data analytics from social media
  • Produce basic reports from data analytics
  • Apply data analytics to social media campaigns
  • Judge what is ethical use of social media data
  • Develop ethical social media practices
  • Give examples of the issues surrounding use of social media by people with disabilities
  • Employ social media practices that are accessible
  • Employ social media practices that are accessible

Who is the course for?

Almost everyone in the modern world is connected to social media platforms in a number of ways, it is incumbent on us all to look at engaging in a way that is constructive and ethical.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Jonathon Hutchinson is a Senior Lecturer in Online Communication and Media at the University of Sydney. His research explores Public Service Media, cultural intermediation, & everyday social media.

Who developed the course?

University of Sydney

The University of Sydney is an Australian public research university. Founded in 1850, the university is Australia’s oldest and is also regarded as one of the world’s leading universities in research and teaching.

  • Established

  • Location

    Sydney, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 50Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

What's included?

University of Sydney are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

    Join the conversation on social media

    You can use the hashtag #UsydSocMed to talk about this course on social media.