Social media conference 2018: What to expect

The Mackinnon Suites Kampala
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The Social Media Conference held annually to analyze the continuing role social media plays in shaping political thoughts and engagements in society is back under the theme “Democracy and Civic Engagement in the Age of Digital (Dis) Information”.

Slated for June 28, 2018, the event will be hosted at The Mackinnon Suites in Kampala, according to an official communique.

Organized by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in partnership with Media-Challenge Initiative, the event brings together key stakeholders from government, civil society, academia and the media in a discussion to evaluate the impact of growing social media on society through analysis of both the challenges and opportunities it has come with.

This year, the event will focus on the impact of Digital Information and how it shapes opinions, perceptions, undermines democracy (political process) as society tends towards more dependence on the internet for news and information as opposed to the traditional media.

Solutions to address the challenge above will also be a point of discussion at the event.

One of the key areas is automation and artificial intelligence that have reduced disinformation and also adaptation of friendly policies by governments and other parties to combat this problem without necessarily switching off social media during election period as the case has been in the past in some African countries.

Kas says the “Social Media Conference is part of” their “global engagement in the championing of the ideals of democracy and good governance through the promotion of free and professional media through journalism trainings and scholarship programs as well as facilitating networking and dialogue platforms,” according to their website.

The conference provides a unique platform for theorizing, dialoguing and engaging on how the growing relevance of social media shapes our social and political interactions and changes the way we access and process information. 


The event will be divided into three sessions:

1st session- Understanding Online Hate Speech: Here discussants will look at what and how it can be identified, it’s impact on both readers and victims and how this can be distinguished from “Freedom of Speech”.

The 2nd session will cover a depth analysis into understanding Facebook Algorithms and how these shape opinions, thoughts of people in society for example the influence Facebook had on the US elections.

The 3rd session will be a workshop on Online Mobile Content Creation for Civic Engagement. Participants will be equipped with fundamental skills and tools in mobile digital content creation tools to better engagement of their audiences.

The event is set to be streamed live online with, Facebook live sections will feature clips of interviews with organizers, speakers and participants. NBS Television will also broadcast some of the sessions at the event.

For social media outreach, participants and the interested public can join the discussion under the hashtag #UgandaSocialMedia

Previous Editions of the Social Media Conference – (Source – KAS website.)

The first Social Media conference took place in July 2015. This prioritized the discourse on social media as a tool for political engagement in Uganda. At that conference, experts assessed the impact of social media on political communication and civic engagement in Uganda.

In July 2016, the second edition of the Social Media Conference focused on the question how Social Media is transforming Uganda’s political and social landscape.

The third edition of the Social Media Conference, took place in June 2017 and it provided another opportunity for deepening and expanding the discussions and exploring new perspectives under the theme Facts, Freedoms and Rights in a Connected World.

Conversations were centered on the interconnectivity between social media and – the new rise of populism, youth engagement, digital humanitarianism, feminism and press freedom.

To apply for the event, follow this link.

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