Social media & life online. Citizens, consumers & the designed online world


About this course

Almost all people nowadays have a ‘life online’. They use all kinds of social media for various purposes, including socializing, shopping, learning, and, dealing with health issues. Life online, however, also has an impact on how we experience our life offline, and on social life in modern societies in general. Does life online isolate us and reduce our well-being? Or can we use social media technologies to bring people together and increase our well-being? Furthermore, even in modern societies with high Internet penetration rates, users differ in their prerequisites for exploiting social media and the Internet and they profit in very unequal ways from it. These two issues refer to the topics of social cohesion and inequality. They also have implications for technology designers as they need to take into account users’ prerequisites before they start designing social media.
The question that lies at the heart of this course is how the design and the use of social media affect the way in which people as citizens, learners, and consumers can improve their life, what the outcomes for social life are, and how technology designers can contribute in meaningful ways to these issues.

Learning outcomes

The course makes students acquainted with the academic discussion about the social impact of the internet, social media and online consumer research. Sociological and social-psychological theories and empirical findings on social media, communication in networks, groups and communities on the internet and online consumer behavior will be presented.
At the end of the course, students

  • will be able to summarize the state of the art of research on the social impact of the internet
  • can identify and explain different theories of online consumer behavior of individuals and their social environment
  • can distinguish different theories of online communication, online communities, and social media
  • can judge and criticize important theories and consider their boundary conditions
  • will be able to write a preliminary research proposal for a Master Thesis project
  • will be able to apply the theories and findings to give policy recommendations and advice on the design and use of social media and online communities
  • will be able to utilize these theories in formulating user requirements for online systems that support social interaction and consumer behavior

Required prior knowledge

You must meet one of the following collections of requirements

  • Collection 1
  • Completed Final examination Bsc program
  • Collection 2
  • Completed Pre-Master

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TU Eindhoven.


  • Start date

    3 February 2025

    • Ends
      6 April 2025
    • Term *
      Block GS3
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      15 Nov, 00:00 - 5 Jan 2025
    Enrolment starts in 154 days
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University