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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

‘Social Media’ the topic of Nov. 8 URI Honors Colloquium lecture

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I.- October 31, 2011- Deb Roy, chief executive officer of Bluefin Labs, and Johanna Blakley, the managing director and director of research at the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, are the next speakers in the University of Rhode Island’s 2011 Honor’s Colloquium, which examines the question “Are you ready for the future?”

They will discuss the boom of social media and its rapid evolution on Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium on the URI Kingston Campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

In their presentation, Roy and Blakley will discuss Facebook, Twitter, the blogosphere and other social media, the impact it has on our lives, and how businesses and organizations are using it to transform the world. From the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt to the worldwide engagement in cultural phenomena, the discussion will focus on the converging of mass media and social media and its future impact.

Roy’s research interests pertain to the ways in which children learn language, and how to create machines that can communicate like humans. At Bluefin Labs, Roy and his cofounders investigate social media in terms of advertising and television shows. This research will help news organizations, marketers, and television networks better understand how audiences respond in real-time to their programs and ads.

Blakley’s research examines the impact of entertainment and mass media on our world. She lead two major research initiatives at the University of Southern California – Ready to Share: Fashion & the Ownership of Creativity and Artists, Technology & the Ownership of Creative Content- addressing the impact of intellectual property rights on originality and modernization. She has appeared on MSNBC and Good Morning America and has been cited by New York Times Magazine, Business Week, Huffington Post and The Economist. She is presently co-director of a national research project called Creativity & Collaboration in the Academy at USC.

The remaining speakers in the lecture series are: cybersecurity expert Richard Clarke on cyberwarfare (Nov. 15); and Laurie Zoloth, director of the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society, on ethics and genetics (Nov. 29). The final lecture (Dec. 6) will be presented by 56 honors students, who attend a class complementary to the colloquium. Their focus will be “We Are the Future.”

All of the lectures will be streamed live at www.uri.edu/hc, where the complete schedule of events is also listed. For additional information about the URI Honors Colloquium, contact Deborah Gardiner at debg@uri.edu or 401-874-2382.

Major sponsors of the Honors Colloquium are the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, the URI Honors Program, and the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, with sustaining sponsors including The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment and the URI Office of the Provost and Office of the President. Additional support is provided by URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, Classroom Media Services, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, College of Human Science and Services, College of Business Administration, College of Pharmacy, Office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance, University College, Coastal Institute, Division of University Advancement, College of Nursing and Department of Communication Studies.