MG486      Half Unit
Social Computing, Data and Information Services (formerly IS418)

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Jannis Kallinikos NAB3.24 and Miss Cristina Alaimo


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation, MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance) and MSc in Media and Communications (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course is about the direction the development of the Web is currently taking via the growing use of social technologies. The course examines in detail the anatomy of social networking sites or social medial platforms and the forms by which they organize online participation. Social networking sites or media platforms are commonly seen as sites in which social relationships are built and developed. But they are also complex information infrastructures in which social communication and interaction are captured and recorded in forms that allow data about individuals and groups to be aggregated and commercialized. Commercialization occurs through a series of recommendation and personalization strategies that detect trends on the Web and construct affinities between individuals and groups.

Understanding therefore the commercialization of online participation requires the in-depth analysis of the operations by means of which social media platforms procure, standardize and organize data and information. It also makes necessary to understand social media platforms as complex information infrastructures in which component technologies, standards and data practices interact with social and market forms to produce particular outcomes.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

Classes are based around reading and discussing selected journal articles from the course study pack. Written formative feedback is provided on weekly class preparation and participation.

Indicative reading

1. Alaimo, C. and Kallinikos, J. (2015). “Encoding the everyday: Social Data and its Media Apparatus”, in Big Data is not a monolith: Policies, practices, and problems, Sugimoto, C, Ekbia, H. and Mattioli M. (eds) Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press (forthcoming).

2.  Constantiou, I. and Kallinikos, J. (2015). New games, new rules: Big data and the changing context of strategy. Journal of Information Technology, 30 (1). DOI: 10.1057/jit.2014.17.

3. Kallinikos, Jannis, Aleksi Aaltonen, and Attila Marton. "The ambivalent ontology of digital artifacts." MIS Quarterly 37, no. 2 (2013): 357-370.

4. Kitchin, R 2014). The data revolution: Big data, open data, data infrastructures and their consequences. London: Sage.

5. Morville, P. (2005). Ambient findability. Cambridge: O'Reilly.

6. Weinberger, D. (2007). Everything is miscellaneous: The power of the new digital disorder. New York: Times Books.

7. van Dijck, J. (2013). The culture of connectivity: A critical history of social media. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

8. Varian, Hal R. "Computer mediated transactions." The American Economic Review (2010): 1-10.


Essay (100%, 7000 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness