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Abstract

This panel debates whether the ways in which social media are changing the nature, creation, seeking, use and sharing of information constitute a transformation or are primarily marked by continuity. Ubiquitous and everyday access to social media (for some) seems to be bringing about changes in social practice, including of information-related activities, such that conceptualisations of information itself are potentially reshaped. Discussants draw inspiration from the pervasive impact on information activities of the everyday adoption of social media. At a theoretical level they also draw inspiration from the analytic resources of contemporary practice theory and its emphasis on materiality and embodiment, routine and change, social expectations and social identity, and knowledge as a process. All the participants of the panel have conducted new empirical research on social media use with a focus on its deep as well as broad impact. The audience members are invited to discuss with the panelists questions such as how social media relate to routinised daily practices and institutionalised practices and hierarchies, how their use refashions social relationships, how they turn information seekers and users into information managers, producers and creators and shape perceptions of information authority and trustworthiness, and how a new theorisation can help librarians, information professionals and researchers understand change and assume a proactive role in it.