The EMERGING TRENDS IN SOCIAL MEDIA 2021 conference has concluded! This year’s iteration of the conference was different - it was held online. Nevertheless, we were able to provide the 1000 registered attendees from 58 countries the current trends and tendencies in social media delivered by industry experts!

"It is clearly very important for researchers, politicians and others to understand what is happening in the environment of social media, which is fast-paced, ever-changing and very diverse,'' remarked our director Jānis Sārts, and this conference proved to be excellent at visualising this point. 

We were able to hear from security specialists of Facebook and Tik Tok, Mr. David Agranovich and Mr. Roland Cloutier, who underlined the importance of recognising the improved sophistication of influence operations, as well as that we should regard bot farms as being responsible for widespread criminal activity.

Furthermore, Dr. Hanna Lindbom and Dr. Jacob Shapiro expressed their views of the impact social platforms have on modern society. Regarding influence campaigns, we should monitor both the inputs and the outputs. In addition, by creating a scenario where nothing is being done to control the social media environment, we would be able to better react and prepare for the necessary responses. 

Other panels focused on how we could utilise the data of social networks in a positive and controlled way, albeit it has proven to be very difficult. As well as, Dr. Ben Scott, the executive director of Reset, touched on the effects digital advances have had on democracy, and provided a critique on the current way of how these threats are contested. 

Social media is reshaping our understanding of the global information environment - it has presented itself as essential infrastructure for personal conversation, public debate and commercial communication. The unprecedented rate of information sharing, and the rapid adoption of limitless communication technologies of online platforms have cemented social media as the new nexus of social interaction. Despite the upsides, the need for a controlled and safe environment has never been so high. As the EMERGING TRENDS IN SOCIAL MEDIA 2021 conference has shown, understanding the trajectory of social media in society is paramount to individuals, organisations, businesses, and militaries alike. 

The NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence invites you to mark your calendars for the next iteration of this conference, and we hope we will be able to see all of you face-to-face!