TECH3022 Social Media Practice

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Module Description

Understanding the culture of social media, and how people make sense of the products of this culture in meaningful ways, is essential for future media producers who wish to engage with emerging and dispersed communities of interest, emerging communities of association, and with emerging communities of practice.

This module gives learners the opportunity to practice and develop their social media research skills, social media development skills, social media production skills and an academically oriented conceptual comprehension to an advanced level. This module explores how social media is made sense of and practiced as a technically mediated social phenomenon, offering learners the opportunity to explore critically how social media communication is articulated, understood and experienced by people living in socially mediated lifeworlds.

The underlying principles of investigation used in this module are: online sociological investigation, netnography and symbolic interactionism. These concepts and methods of investigation form the essential methodological underpinning necessary to study the practice and culture of socially mediated community life. Learners will be able to practice their social media production skills, and gain experience in the systematic development of social media projects, based on a conceptually relevant and flexible approach to social media production, circulation and interaction principles, as they relate to the DIY concept of distributed media production, digital activism, and collaborative forms of produc-tion management.

This module gives learners the opportunity to develop their social media production skills by designing and creating social media projects that utilise creative and alternative forms of media, such as online video, podcasts, blogs, social networks, transmedia and technical interactivity.

Module Tutor

John Coster

Queens Building, Q1.25

John's Website

Module Handbook

Download Module Handbook:

Lecture Notes


Lecture One:

  • Reading:
  • Viewing:

Workshop Notes

Notes are also available to download.


Workshop One:


Component A - Survey of Campaigns (5%)

Component B - Social Media Project Investigation (15%)

Component C - Social Media Group Project (30%)

Component D - Social Media Production Evaluative Report (50%)

Key Texts

It is expected that learners will read all of the material from the key texts list, to broaden and deepen understanding of the subject beyond the basic, and thus enhance performance in assessments.

  • Boellstorf, T. (et al) (2012) Ethnography and Virtual Worlds – A Handbook of Method, Princeton Uni-versity Press, Princeton.
  • Delwiche, A. & Henderson J.J. (eds.) (2013) The Participatory Cultures Handbook, Routledge, London.
  • Jenkins, H. (et al) (2013) Spreadable Media – Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, New York University Press, New York.
  • Kozinets, R. V. (2010). Netnography - Doing Ethnographic Research Online. London: Sage.
  • Lindgren, S. (2017) Digital Media & Society, London, Sage.

Useful Feeds and Links

Research Planning

Production Planning

Social Learning

If you wish to share and discuss ideas and topics covered in the module please use the hashtag #diydmu.

In this module emphasis will be placed on collaboration, sharing, discussion and participation. The idea is that learning is enhanced if it is shared and collectively developed. Each person has a responsibility to play their part in the activities and the tasks, and to encourage and support other learners as the module unfolds. As a community of learners and practitioners this approach recognises that there is more to be gained from a non-hierarchical approach and by spreading-out the tasks using social media tools that encourage everyone to participate and to share their ideas, thoughts and observations in a constructive, non-judgemental, and practical way.

This year we are introducing a new online discussion forum as part of the DMU Commons, which we will be exploring and learning how to use. As this system is new it will give us the opportunity to find out how it can be best used to support learning and discussion across the university

Face-to-Face Interaction

While the subject of this module is social media, the primary approach of the tutor will be based on face-to-face interaction. This takes places in lectures, labs and arranged tutorials. A typical workshop session will consist of a short introduction presentation, the distribution of instructions via the tutor’s blog site, and then short discussions with individuals and small groups throughout the remainder of the session. This takes an informal approach to interaction between the learner and the tutor.

Verbal Instructions

While many of the tasks and coursework assignments are specified in detail in this handbook, learners are encouraged to listen to the verbal instructions of the tutor, and to ask questions based on the notes that they take. Any questions that relate to the practical work, the reading work, or the assign-ments associated with this module should be noted by learners and asked during the practical ses-sions. This is why attendance is essential, and why good listening skills and a distraction-free environ-ment are important. The assignments described here are starting points and are not prescriptive. Learners are encouraged to go-beyond the tasks and activities that are set here, and to investigate for themselves different ways that social media might be used.


Lecture notes and lab worksheets will be provided as PDF documents, with any essential information, links, diagrams, references and source material. However, learners are expected to keep notes for themselves, and to record information that is not given in the handouts. Note taking is an essential skill and it is important to develop the habit and routine practice of writing notes, sketching diagrams, doodling and so on. You never know when these notes might be useful.


A register will be kept of attendance at labs and attendance will be monitored. Non-attendance with-out good reason may lead to failure of the module. If you are ill or due to be away from the university due to an unavoidable or urgent matter, please email FOTAC who will inform your tutors, who will mark you as absent. The university may require you to provide evidence to corroborate your absence at some point in the future.

Study Hours:

Lecture: One Hour

The lecture will consist of an examination of ideas and concepts associated with the use and devel-opment of social media platforms and practices, netnographic data collection techniques, digital litera-cies and social media production techniques. The lectures run for no more than fifty minutes, and will start promptly on the hour and finish at ten minutes to the hour. Media examples will be given, along with suggested reading and links to other media.

Lab: Two Hours

Labs will take the form of a workshop in which learners will actively explore and produce content for their project, experimenting with different types of social media and applying problem solving and creative thinking techniques in order to get the best from them. The lab will cover:

  • Discussing issues covered in lectures.
  • Experimenting with different forms of social media.
  • Setting up blogs and wiki pages.
  • Writing blogs and wiki entries.
  • Sharing content and ideas.
  • Reflecting on feedback.
  • Planning for future work.
  • Sharing media content.

Self-directed Study: Eight Hours

As well as attending your classes learners are expected to spend time each week working on course-work, background reading, independent investigation, group work and getting to know different social media platforms. Typically, this might be divided into:

  • One Hour - Weekly social media planning & writing
  • Two Hours - Weekly social media production
  • One Hour - Media investigation
  • One Hour - Personal journal
  • Three Hours - Reading

Tutor Contact

Your module tutor will not answer queries and questions about coursework by email or any other forms of electronic communication. You are expected to make a note of your questions in your note-book and bring them to your weekly lab session, where time will always be given to answer any ESSENTIAL questions that you have. Your tutor has allocated time each week to see students in person if required. These are listed at the front of this handbook.

Module Outcomes

At the end of this module you will be able to demonstrate that you are able to:

  • Design, create and manage a package of creative social media assets and resources for a specific purpose, using social and collaborative research and production techniques, and account for these assets
  • Critically evaluate the use of social media production for forms of participatory media and other network cultures in social and technological contexts
  • Research and evaluate the social experience of people in medited communities, and critically explain how emerging practices of social media facilitate different social accomplishments.

This will include your ability to demonstrate:

  • A systematic understanding of the nature and role of social media.
  • An ability to deploy practices and ideas associated with social media so as to produce and share - responsibly and ethically - content and media products within a social network or group.
  • A conceptual understanding of the social, political and academic debates and policy decisions associated with social media literacies.
  • An appreciation of the demands and challenges of running and supporting social media networks and participants.
  • An ability to manage learning by applying advanced learning techniques that are independent, learner-centric, reflexive and self-evaluative.
  • An ability to apply concepts and techniques associated with social media through practical engagement in the production of social media content, products and services.
  • An ability to critically evaluate the process and the general concepts, ideas and policy debates associated with social media.
  • An ability to communicate to different audiences using different forms of visual, aural, written, interactive or social media.
  • An ability to use initiative and a high-degree of personal self-management and ethical responsibility.
  • An ability to apply systematic decision making evaluations and techniques in a timely and strategic manner.
  • An ability to learn independently, to reflect on that learning and to define learning goals and patterns of independent learning for future projects.

Enhancement Weeks

Your programme team are committed to support you through your studies and as you develop your learning through each module that you study. As part of your programme, we are dedicated to helping you to plan for your future after leaving university, and ‘Enhancement weeks’ are a central concept to help you achieve your future goal. As part of the university calendar, week 6 and week 22 are designated ‘Enhancement weeks’ in which you will find timetabled activities focused around your personal and professional development. Enhancement weeks are not simply about getting a job after you graduate, but a method used within career education comprising activities to support your development in areas such as decision making, employment opportunity awareness, the transition to work and self-awareness skills.

As well as activities organised at the university, there are other events taking place in Leicester that you can participate in.

The Doc Media Festival takes place between 6th-10th November.

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Media Source Material

How Facebook Changed the World:..., [television programme, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 21:00 5/9/2011, BBC TWO, 65mins., (Accessed 05/10/2015).

Key Words

Digital media, new media, the Web, Web 2.0, social web, digital literacies, new media literacies, social media production, attention, participation, collaboration, critical consumption, network smarts, participatory culture, transmedia, creativity, social capital.