DATE: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. April 7-8, 2023

EVENT: Third annual Social Media and Society in India symposium.

The hybrid conference will feature various speakers, including actors, activists, educators, lawyers, journalists, physicians and entertainers, to discuss how social media impacts life in India. Some of those attending are Indian Supreme Court attorney Karuna Nundy, one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2022, journalist and anchor Saurabh Dwivedi, activist Bezwada Wilson, comedian Rohan Joshi and film star Richa Chadha.

“The goal of the conference is to bring together a group of practitioners and scholars to discuss the ways social media is changing contemporary society in India,” said Joyojeet Pal, U-M associate professor of information. “We are bringing in not just people who study the effects of social media and society, but also people who are actively involved in creating those effects, such as online influencers.”

In 2021, it was estimated that there were about 448 million social network users in India, a significant increase from 351 million in 2019.

“India is numerically the largest social media market, in terms of the installed base of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp users,” Pal said. “Their internet literacy is different, creating a huge market for misinformation. Because of the low cost of mobile connectivity, you have many people who can’t afford access to television, but they’re on YouTube and WhatsApp.”

The wide variety of speakers, representing varying points of view, will cover topics such as health care, media, food, travel, misinformation and activism in India.

“What I’m looking forward to from this conference, given that it draws people beyond the traditional conference, is the diversity of participants,” said conference speaker Apar Gupta, executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation. “This diversity adds value to understanding the online media ecology in India. The people who are being invited carry a large level of responsibility because they’re influencing social attitudes rapidly.”

REGISTRATION INFORMATIONSocial Media and Society in India

SPONSORS: School of Information; Center for South Asia Studies; John Seely Brown Technology & Society Lecture Fund; Martha Boaz Distinguished Lectureship Fund; Digital Studies Institute; Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing; and the Wallace House Center for Journalists