Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo



A.Y. Credits
2022/2023 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Stefano Brilli Tuesdays 4-6 pm during the active semester and by appointment. Please email the lecturer to schedule an appointment.
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Information, media and advertisement (L-20)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

Social media are the background environment for an increasingly large part of our social life. This means that we often take their functioning for granted, resulting in a habitual use that is scarcely aware of how they impact on our communication.

The course aims to provide students with operational tools to get to know the features (technical, normative, cultural) of the main social media platforms, in order to be able to exploit them for the analysis and production of content suitable for the specific online contexts.

The course has a workshop orientation. After an introduction on the history and evolution of social media, students will work in groups on projects that will allow them to practically deal with the communication methods best suited to the platforms' properties.  


1. History and development of digital social media platforms

  • At the origin of social networking sites .
  • Platformisation of cultural production.
  • Socio-demographic characteristics of user audiences.
  • Current trends in social media development and the trans-platform perspective.

2. Knowing the platforms' specificities

  • Affordance, regulation and cultures: how to analyse the platforms' features (YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Telegram, Tumblr).
  • Group work 1: Which platform for which communication? Each group will study through the walkthrough method a specific platform and its related apps; together with the teacher, the groups will produce toolkits on how to produce content in line with the languages of the platforms; such toolkits will be reported in flipped classroom mode.

3. Producing content to inform, entertain, promote and activate

  • Group work 2: Riding the trends. The groups will work on the creation of entertainment content based on the current trends of the chosen platforms. 
  • Group work 3: Disseminating through social media. The groups will be provided with articles and research reports on relevant social science topics and will have to produce dissemination content in audio, video, visual and text form. 

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

1. Knowledge and understanding: theoretical and methodological knowledge that enables students to approach the analysis of social media platforms, with a focus on the platforms' development, affordances and regulation processes.

1.1 Students gain this knowledge by attending lectures and seminars, reading further material and group exercises.

2. Applying knowledge and understanding: through the ability to create content tailored to the characteristics and cultures of the social media platforms.

2.1. These skills will be acquired through group works.

3. Making informed judgements: students will learn to critically observe the technical, regulatory and social constraints of platforms. 

3.1. This critical look will be exercised in classroom discussions on concrete case studies and in group work.

4. Communication skills: students are expected to actively participate in lectures, exchange opinions and materials on the course's online spaces, and present group work with an appropriate style and specific vocabulary.

4.1. Communication skills will be practised through class discussion and in the presentation of group work. 

5. Learning skills: students will be expected to adopt a learning method capable of combining theoretical and methodological tools from the relevant literature with the ever-changing landscape of digital cultures.

5.1. Learning skills will be exercised through classroom discussions, confrontation with fellow students and during group work.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

Slides, video materials and recommended readings will be made available on the dedicated blended learning platform.

Teaching, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


.In-class lectures, seminars, discussion in class and in the online space, group work.

Innovative teaching methods

Students must attend at least 75% of classes and participate in group work. Students who do not meet these requirements are considered "non-attending students" and therefore must study the texts indicated in the "non-attending students" section of the syllabus.

Course books

Supplementary texts useful for group work will be provided during the course. Students who complete the group work and whose work is assessed as sufficient do not need to prepare further texts for the exam.


.For attending students who have done all the group works to a sufficient standard, the examination will focus on the discussion of the materials produced during the work.

Disability and Specific Learning Disorders (SLD)

Students who have registered their disability certification or SLD certification with the Inclusion and Right to Study Office can request to use conceptual maps (for keywords) during exams.

To this end, it is necessary to send the maps, two weeks before the exam date, to the course instructor, who will verify their compliance with the university guidelines and may request modifications.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Individual study of the texts in the syllabus and use of the resources available on the Moodle platform.


Study of the indicated texts.

Course books
  • Poell, T., Nieborg, D. B., & Duffy, B. E. (2022). Platforms and cultural production. Cambridge : Polity Press.

Non attending students must also prepare one of the following volumes: 

  • Bondy Valdovinos Kaye, D., Zeng, J., & Wikström, P. (2022). TikTok: Creativity and culture in short video. Cambridge : Polity Press.
  • Burgess, J., & Green, J. (2018). Youtube: Online video and participatory culture. Cambridge : Polity Press.
  • Bucher, T. (2021). Facebook. Cambridge : Polity Press.
  • Goggin, G. (2021). Apps: From mobile phones to digital lives. Cambridge : Polity Press.
  • Murthy, D. (2018). Twitter (2nd edition). Cambridge : Polity Press.
  • Leaver, T., Highfield, T., & Abidin, C. (2020). Instagram: Visual social media cultures. Cambridge : Polity Press.
  • Tiidenberg, K., Hendry, N. A., & Abidin, C. (2021). Tumblr. Cambridge : Polity Press.

Students wishing to undertake the course in English are invited to contact the lecturer to agree on the specifics of the study programme.


Students will be tested through an oral exam based on the texts listed in the syllabus.

Excellent grades will be given for: the student's capacity for criticism and in-depth study; the ability to link the main themes addressed in the course; the use of appropriate language with respect to the specific nature of the discipline.
The following will result in good grades: the student's possession of a mnemonic knowledge of the contents; a certain critical ability and the capacity to link the topics discussed: the use of appropriate language.
Sufficient assessments will be obtained by: the student's achievement of a minimal knowledge of the subjects dealt with, despite the presence of some learning gaps; the use of a non-appropriate language.
Negative assessments will be given for: the student's difficulty in orienting himself/herself in relation to the topics dealt with in the texts of the examination; gaps in learning; the use of inappropriate language.

Disability and Specific Learning Disorders (SLD)

Students who have registered their disability certification or SLD certification with the Inclusion and Right to Study Office can request to use conceptual maps (for keywords) during exams.

To this end, it is necessary to send the maps, two weeks before the exam date, to the course instructor, who will verify their compliance with the university guidelines and may request modifications.

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