International Conference
Social Networks, Digital Traces
and Electronic Communication

IUT of Le Havre
Information-Communication Department

IDEES Le Havre (UMR CNRS 6266)
Le Havre University, France

June 6th, 7th and 8th, 2018

The nature of digital traces, which are more and more frequent—whether users want to leave them or not—is a crucial issue. It is essential, even central when working on online communication, as we have been doing for several years through a number of books and journal issues (Liénard & Zlitni, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 ; Zlitni & Liénard, 2012, 2013, 2015 ; Galinon-Mélénec & Zlitni, 2013 ; Galinon-Mélénec, Liénard & Zlitni, 2015 ; Liénard, 2013 ; Zlitni, Liénard et al., 2014).

Indeed, questions linked to traces and online communication are at the core of the work undertaken by the team of researchers from the Human-Trace team (HUMAN TRACE UniTwin Complex System UNESCO). These give way, amongst other things, to the organization of scientific events. Christine Develotte and Marie-Anne Paveau explain that “from the end of the 2000’s, French CMC (Computer-Mediated Communication) has been renewed—thanks to Liénard and Zlitni who organize a biennial conference on e-communication” (2017: 200). In the wake of these conferences, we are organizing the fifth event of this series. After 2010 (Electronic communication in uni- and plurilingual situations. Forms, Frontiers, Futures), 2012 (Electronic communication in the “information” society), 2014 (Electronic communication, Cultures and Identities) and 2016 (Online medias and electronic communication), the 2018 edition will be entitled Social networks, digital traces and electronic communication. Like the preceding conferences, this scientific event will be held in the center of the city, in the University Institute of Technology (Quay Frissard, Le Havre, France).

Intersecting Digital Social Networks (DSN) and electronic communication is still questioning “these digital networks—said to be social” (Stenger & Coutant, 2011) while observing the fact that “profiles” now organize digital traces, and structure the data economy as a the most tempting target of the actors of this field. In the last volume about traces (Galinon-Mélénec, 2017), Olivier Ertzcheid evokes the fact that after documentary profiles (which allowed to describe people thanks to the sum of all documentary traces which are produced and attested), identity profiles arose (here, people are characterized by “the sum of various individual profiles allowing, by aggregating data, to build the trace of their expression on networks, hence their “digital identity”), and that current algorithmic profiling not only analyzes documentary and identity profiles, “but also captures a part of the volumetric boom linked to Big Data […]” (2017:143-144).

Social network sites (SNS), in the sense of danah boyd and Nicole Ellison (2007) hence allow to create a public or private profile on the network, to manage a contact list and share data, to browse and check other members’ data if they are so allowed. The volume of signs and symbols, the volume of traces is truly significant, especially since nowadays, it is about generating (as much) data as possible directed to the list, the group, or the community which subscribed, and is actively acting on a given social network. To show one’s presence (Merzeau, 2009) and occupy these specific spaces, young and older users alike qualify thanks to these signs and symbols Others’ data, write comments in a variety of languages, post selfies and/or photographs, broadcast videos of real-time events or scrupulously-edited thematic videos, all of which for communicational, informational, pedagogical, mercantile, promotional, or even propagandist goals (…)

Because of this assessment, we have decided to elaborate five themes dedicated to : 1) presence, digital identities which depend on uses and practices of electronic communication by and through SNS; 2) the role of ICT and some SNS in and for educational purposes; 3) structuring public political space by the protagonists who all resort to SNS to do so; 4) informational content and online journalism, whether it be professional or amateur; 5) tools used by companies, and the effects of SNS on brands.

  • For each submission, the text will contain:

    • The name, first name, email address and institutional affiliation of the author(s).
    • The theme the paper fits
    • The title of the submission
    • A 3500-character summary (including spaces). The author must expose as clearly as possible their central question, the object under study, theoretical references, methods and bibliography.
    • Language of submissions: French and English only.

    Submissions should be sent by the 2nd of February 2018 at the address:

    An acknowledgement of receipt will be sent via email at the author’s address.

    Reviewing will be double-blind, by the members of the scientific committee. 

  • Short versions of the papers (8 pages) will be published in the Proceedings (which will be printed) by the opening of the conference.

    After the conference, and based on the quality of papers, a longer version (15 pages) may be requested. It will be then evaluated by an ad hoc review panel.

    • 2nd of February 2018: submissions for the conference
    • 19th of February 2018: notification of acceptance
    • 15th April 2016: Final date of registration for the conference and submission of short articles (8 pages).
    • €120 for researchers, lecturers and professors.
    • €90 for doctoral students

    Registration fees include a copy of the Proceedings, lunches, coffee breaks and the gala dinner.

Proposals must be submitted by email on or before
2nd of February 2018.

Axis 1. Traces, digital identity and emergence of SNS

Women and men (Human traces) are hyperconnected (or sometimes, disconnected). Digital (omni)presence conditioned by various practices and uses weighs heavily on bodies, cognition, identities which are expressed very differently depending on the people (psychosociolinguistic profiles), on their perspective (communicational goals), or even the communicational modes used (on SNS, for instance). Hence, we can say who we are on a thematic blog or a dating website, show our competences on Viadéo or LinkedIn, our ideas and/or our hobbies on Instagram or Pinterest, report on an action or an event immediately through Twitter, have a multilingual conversation on Facebook or thanks to a headset during heated gaming sessions. All these electronic moments are marked and important, identity-wise: they are a part of the construction of the self and otherness, to the gendered construction and deconstruction, to digital alterity which is both absent and so very present, whether SNS are used in isolation or together.

Contributions for this theme will tackle issues about digital traces, data (big or soft), e-reputation, but also the multisemiosis of traces, which seems to lead to the division of uses, the issue of hyperconnection and (in)voluntary disconnection, that of the absence/presence of bodies which are made digital, public, aesthetic, the issue of gender and sexuality linked to online media… The list is not exhaustive.

Axis 2. Digital Education…

Digital media spread and/or feed our contemporary societies and have also entered one of their most important institutions: school. All the members of the educational community (emission and reception) are interested in connected objects (and not only educational ICT), which they often use for pedagogical reasons. These objects and affiliated tools are so significant today that they deeply change many learning processes: younger children discovering tablet computers and their possibilities, teenagers who use SNS even to learn new things, life-long digital training, and older people using serious games in order to fight some illnesses. Nowadays, objects and tools even influence most theories of language learning amongst other fields and sciences which seem to be more accessible because they are available to all, often one click away.

Contributions to this theme will tackle e-learning, m-learning, digital teaching-learning, digital literacy; they can also deal with serious games, video games and virtual worlds dedicated to education; they can also evoke readings and writings onscreen, digital (socio)linguistics norms and variation; or be about MOOCs, interactive whiteboards, digital literacy certificates (B2I, C2I), digital workspaces, Moodle, open e-learning… The list is not exhaustive.

Axis 3. Public political arena in the digital age

The aim of this theme is to reflect on the evolution of the public political arena linked to e-communication. The use of ICTs, SNS as well as online to manage militants, blogs, websites… has transformed the traditional medias as far as political commitment is concerned, whether during or out of political campaigns. Nowadays, the use of ICT is almost unavoidable for all the members of the public, political arena: candidates, elected representatives, voters, militants, citizens… While being an important moment, elections are not the only time when political e-communication arises. Even if ICT allow politicians to be more visible in the public space while allowing them to free themselves from traditional media, these new tools allow citizens to access new platforms for political expression and lead social movements and other political actions. SNS have become the place where public debate is recreated, where individual opinions and collective demands are heard. It is also the place where citizens’ initiatives start (petitions, boycotts), and where militant action is organized (mobilization, structuration, visibility).

Contributions for this theme will deal with all the practices and uses of ICT by politicians, political parties, militants, citizens… who want to reach a goal linked to a particular event within the public space.

Axis 4. Information, Journalism and digital tools

Journalism and information never stop to evolve and transform, especially because of the development of digital ICT. In addition to the transformation of contents and journalistic writing (multimedia writing, web documentaries…), medias rely more and more on new interactive devices, along with digital tools (live, Storify…).

Furthermore, digital and mobile tools have helped recompose the media landscape, and the emergence of public journalism. Some see public journalists as citizens contributing to the democratization of public expression, whereas others see them as a menace to the professional journalistic field.

Amongst other issues, theme 4 will mainly focus on: online journalism; SNS and journalistic practices; citizen and amateur journalism, new writing and narrative forms, ethics and moral codes of journalism at the age of digital medias…

Axis 5. Digital communication, brands and organizations

Social networks and websites, e-reputation, brand content, augmented reality are some of the many tools that (commercial or territorial) brands use to create new solutions and discourse to further engage consumers.

Digital tools not only change how marketing is envisioned, but also the market itself thanks to the emergence of new forms of entrepreneurship relying more and more on the network (uberization of companies).

Besides the use of digital medias for management purposes, strategic monitoring, economic intelligence, these tools also integrate comprehensive communication strategies (internal or external), while adapting to behavioral specificities of digital users through an adequate commercial and technological offer.