Social media: what is their role in shaping identity and mediating conflict? Talk with Gregory Asmolov. December 1, 2016. 7pm

"The Russian-Ukrainian conflict prompted unprecedented levels of citizen engagement  into the conflict through Internet. In addition to the "hot" warfare, battles rage on social media as millions are taking part in the conflict by writing posts, commenting or sharing information, trolling or banning the imaginary enemy. A new term of "a sofa army" (" ") has been coined as the boundaries of a battlefield are becoming increasingly blurred.

Gregory Asmolov refers to these new phenomena as "participatory warfare," "immersive warfare" and "crowdsourcing of conflict." What is the role social media play in a situation of conflict? To they help to solve it or - on the contrary - aggravate it even more by spreading disinformation and locking users in their respective "echo chambers"? What role is played by the state and how is it harnessing this energy? What lessons do communications experts draw from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the information warfare on the Internet which envelops it?

These issues are at the focus of the academic interest of Gregory Asmolov, a communication expert and a PhD student at the department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics.

Date: Thursday, 1 December 2016

Time: 7pm

Venue: 79 Holland Park W11 3SW


The presentation and talk will be in English and will be followed by a Q&A and a wine reception.

The talk will be moderated by Marina Pesenti, Director of the Ukrainian Institute.

The event is free but prior registration is required. Please register by following this link


Speaker’s biography:

Gregory has completed his PhD thesis at LSE in September 2016. Prior to that he consulted on information technology, new media and social media projects for the World Bank and Internews Network, and worked as a research assistant at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University. He also served as a contributing editor of RuNet Echo, a project of Global Voices Online analyzing the Russian Internet.

He was a co-founder of Help Map, a crowdsourcing platform used to coordinate assistance to victims of wildfires in Russia in 2010 which won a Russian National Internet Award for best project in the State and Society category. He also participated in the development of Rynda.org, a crowdsourcing platform for the coordination of mutual aid in crisis situations, and of a number of other such projects.

He has previously worked as a journalist for major Russian newspapers Kommersant and Novaya Gazeta, and served as news editor and analyst for Israeli TV.  He holds an MA in Global Communication from George Washington University (Washington, DC) and a BA in Communication and International Affairs from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Gregory Asmolov's talk at the Ukrainian Catholic University could be viewed here

His academic profile could be viewed here