Open Panel: Producing, Sharing and Transforming Knowledge on Social Media

An international conference hosted by the
Centre for Translation and the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies,
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

In collaboration with the
Genealogies of Knowledge Project, University of Manchester, UK

7-9 April 2020



Producing, Sharing and Transforming Knowledge on Social Media

Convenor: Neil Sadler, Queen’s University Belfast, UK

In recent years a multitude of disciplines have explored how knowledge is produced, shared and transformed on social media. A growing body of scholarship examines how knowledge is shared within large institutions; in disaster response situations; among activists in social movements (Murthy 2018); and in participatory practices such as crowdsourcing and citizen journalism. Methodologically oriented research has also focused on social media as a source of data for the production of scholarly knowledge and a site of epistemological change – as illustrated by the growing use of visualization techniques to make sense of the huge volumes of data generated by social media (Halpern 2015).

This wide range of theoretical perspectives highlights the complexity of the relationship between social media and knowledge. The very visibility of knowledge exchange between social media users is valuable for avoiding the construction of ‘knowledge silos’ that are confined to specific institutional contexts; however, that same visibility has proven a boon to repressive regimes that are keen to monitor their political opponents (Trottier and Fuchs 2015). The connective affordances of social media allow vast numbers of people to make individually small but collectively significant contributions in disaster response situations (Potts 2013), but they can also be used in economically exploitative ways to blur the boundaries between leisure and productive labour. The potentially transformational impact of the huge volume of information generated by social media is tempered by ongoing debates about the filter bubbles derived from the ubiquity of opaque recommendation algorithms and the growing tendency towards homophily among social media users (Bruns 2019).

This panel invites proposals focusing on the production, distribution and transformation of knowledge on social media understood broadly. We welcome both empirical case studies and theoretical reflections on the epistemology of social media, and the extent to which they either require or encourage new forms of knowing.

Potential topics to be explored in this panel include, but are not limited to:

  • The co-production and sharing of knowledge across linguistic and cultural boundaries via social media
  • The way in which knowledge is transformed as it moves through space and time on social media
  • Knowledge production on social media and power
  • Social media and performative knowledge
  • The production of knowledge through individual and connective social media storytelling
  • The interplay between online and offline practices of knowledge production
  • Social media and ways of knowing: ambient, dialogic, fragmented and affective knowledge
  • The changing practices of knowledge creation on social media since their rise to prominence in the mid-2000s
  • The interplay between culturally specific (and especially non-Western) ways of knowing and social media affordances and design
  • Algorithmic recommendation and knowledge production and distribution.



Bruns, A. (2019) Are Filter Bubbles Real? Cambridge & Malden, MA: Polity Press.

Halpern, O. (2015) Beautiful Data, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Murthy, D. (ed.) (2018) Social Media, Activism, and Organizations, Special issue of Social Media + Society.

Potts, L. (2013) Social Media in Disaster Response, London & New York: Routledge.

Trottier, D. and C. Fuchs (eds) (2015) Social Media, Politics and the State: Protests, revolutions, riots, crime and policing in the age of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, London & New York: Routledge.


Panel Convenor

Neil Sadler is Lecturer in Translation at the Centre for Translation and Interpreting at Queen’s University Belfast and holds an MA and PhD in Translation and Intercultural Studies from the University of Manchester. His research centres on the uses and nature of multilingual narrative in digitally mediated contexts, particularly in the Arab world. Current projects include a monograph on fragmented political storytelling on Twitter in the contexts of the 2013 military intervention in Egypt, 2017 Catalonian independence movement and Donald Trump’s contemporary communication practices; a project supported by the AHRC and Newton-Khalidi fund to examine the interplay between history, identity and translation in Dhiban, Jordan; and work examining the implications of international postgraduate study for students’ sense of identity and epistemology.


Submission of Paper Proposals

Submissions should be sent to the panel convenor (Neil Sadler, by 30 September 2019.

Submissions should consist of:

(1) Abstract (300-400 words, including up to 5 bibliographic references).

(2) Contributor’s 150-word (maximum) biodata written in the third person. See examples from a previous event here:

(3) Full affiliation(s)

Notification of acceptance will be sent by 30 October 2019.