UTM's The Medium feature article profiles PhD student Jordan Foster's research on social media

February 23, 2021 by Sherri Klassen

UTM's student newspaper, The Medium, recently published a feature article profiling Jordan Foster's research on social media. Entitled, "The Promises and Perils of Social Media," the article discusses Jordan's work examining the roles of influencers in perpetuating or combating patterns of social inequality.

Jordan is a third year PhD student. His research focuses on culture, consumption and class politics with a look toward how taken-for-granted trends and social media platforms comment on and reproduce existing inequalities in the consumer landscape.

We have included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article here.

The promises and perils of social media

by Anna Povorozniuk

Social media is everywhere. It follows you from the early morning when you wake up and check Instagram, to lunch break when you retweet a video of a funny dog, and into the night when you scroll endlessly through TikTok videos. All of us, without a doubt, have felt the impact of social media on our lives. But has social media impacted societal functioning as well?

Jordan Foster is a graduate student in the sociology Ph.D. program at the University of Toronto St. George. He grew up with social media platforms blossoming around him and, as a curious undergrad, he began asking questions about social media’s role in society. As a graduate student, he got to transform those questions into research. His research studies focus on culture, consumption, and class politics, with a particular emphasis on how “taken-for-granted” trends and social media platforms emphasize and reproduce existing inequalities.

Social media has changed the landscape of our society in the past couple of years; there is no question about it. “It’s something that a lot of us are thinking about,” says Foster. His main concern is how social media has changed social visibility and how we view the status of others. “Social media has changed the rules of sociality, how we interact and engage with one another,” continues Foster. Analysing this shift allows us to understand how inequality functions on social media. We have to ask ourselves who succeeds on social media and, most importantly, who doesn’t to understand the full dynamics of the issue.

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