The rise of social media has provided an exciting yet controversial new form of participation in numerous civic and political arenas. For example, it is widely believed that Twitter played a key role in facilitating the Arab Spring, a moment of ground-breaking civil protest and change in the Middle East. This course begins by theoretically situating social media within the context of social movements and online interaction, and describes the role of emotions and human connection in motivating action. It examines a number of case studies on sites such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, and analyzes other socially-driven forms of connected interaction, including mobile phones, media sharing, networked locality, and gaming. Students will explore the possibilities and complications of using social media for civic engagement and political action by investigating several key debates, including: concerns about privacy, conflicts over free speech, and governmental and commercial interventions into the design and execution of social platforms and networks. The course examines future opportunities for self-expression, information exchange, and meaningful dialogue in an increasingly mediated and fragmented set of public spheres.