Social media: good? Or bad?

Saturday 20 October, 12.15pm until 1.15pm, Conservatory

There are plenty of reasons, it seems, to champion social media. For some, it played a key role in the Arab uprisings, allowing the disparate and the silenced to give voice to their struggles. In the West, too, social media is deemed increasingly vital to public life, be it President Obama’s high-profile tweeting strategy, or influential Twitter- or Facebook-driven campaigns around certain issues. And as Facebook’s multibillion-dollar floatation showed, there is money to be made too. But is the rise of social media as great a positive force as its champions claim? Are there downsides to the social-media revolution? Is the private sphere in the process of being rendered all too public? And what about free speech? Has the rise of social media facilitated the rise of the twitchunts, and other forms of near instantaneous censure? Or are the criticisms as misplaced as the hype?

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Andrew Keen
entrepreneur; founder,; author, Digital Vertigo: how today's online social revolution is dividing, diminishing, and disorienting us

Dr Norman Lewis
director (innovation), PwC; co-author, Big Potatoes: the London manifesto for innovation

Dr Tim Black
editor, Spiked Review

Produced by
Dr Tim Black editor, Spiked Review
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