December 2009 – November 2014

Media and communication are fundamentally changing, with increased convergence and an evolution from mass communication and personal media to mass self-communication. Mediated communication becomes more and more participative and personalised by means of social computing (Web 2.0). In this realm the user is the central actor, but only to the extent that he or she is actually empowered to grasp the opportunities and to face the challenges in the digital media environment.

The goal of the interdisciplinary project EMSOC is to critically assess to what extent and how people are empowered or disempowered by their everyday use of social media. We investigate how the vulnerability of these people (does not) change(s) through these new forms of online communication and interaction. The issues are addressed from a social, legal, media, educational and policy perspective. Our research within this project mainly focuses on the societal dimension of inclusion.

Website: EMSOC project website

Project team:

Maarten Van MechelenKarin Slegers


CUO, KU Leuven
ICRI, KU Leuven
MICT, Universiteit Gent
C&E, Universiteit Gent



Van Mechelen, M. & Slegers, K. (2013, June). Preventing and coping with (cyber)bullying: participatory mapping towards self-regulatory strategies. Workshop Behaviour Change Interventions: Teenagers, Technology and Design – IDC2013. New York.

Dupont, L. , Slegers, K. & De Grooff, D. (2011, ). Inclusion, exclusion and social media: IT-based initiatives and future opportunities. IAMCR 2011 – Communication Policy and Technology Section. Istanbul.

Recent activities:

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