MAGIC Center welcomes social media expert Oct. 22

Amy Vernon says the Internet shouldn’t be blamed for cyber-bullying and harassment; fault lies with the people who act poorly online

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Amy Vernon, social media strategy pioneer, will speak at RIT as part of the MAGIC Speaker Series on Oct. 22.

According to social-media etiquette guru Amy Vernon, the Internet gets blamed for a lot of things including rudeness, cyber-bullying and harassment. But Vernon insists the Internet has a bad rap, and she will explain why when she visits Rochester Institute of Technology as the inaugural speaker for the 2015-2016 Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) Speaker Series.

Vernon’s free presentation is at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 in Student Innovation Hall, room 1600, and, according to her, “promises to provide listeners with the tools to keep your blood pressure down next time you go on Facebook.”

Vernon has said: “The people who act poorly on the Internet generally act poorly in real life, too. We just didn’t have to see, talk or ever interact with most of them before. Now, we can’t avoid them. Or can we?”

Vernon also believes in the importance of social-media etiquette and knowing when and how to respond to Internet postings.

“Amy Vernon is a highly regarded writer and speaker who has deep expertise on matters concerning online content—especially social media,” said Evan Selinger, head of Research Communications, Community & Ethics for RIT’s Center for MAGIC, and a philosophy professor in the College of Liberal Arts. “Students and professionals alike are struggling with challenges related to social-media etiquette, and Amy is the ideal person to clarify how their concerns fit into a larger context and can be practically addressed.”

Vernon is an independent consultant and a pioneer of social-content strategy. She spent 20 years working for daily newspapers around the country and was a member of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning staff of the Miami Herald. An inaugural inductee of the New Jersey Social Media Hall of Fame, Vernon was named the 15th most influential woman in technology on Twitter by Business Insider and Peer Index. She has consulted on social media and content for a variety of companies and organizations, including the American Museum of Natural History, Verizon and VentureBeat, and has driven millions of page views through her work.

“The MAGIC Speaker Series is intended to advance the conversation surrounding digital media and its impacts throughout our campus community,” said Andrew Phelps, director and founder of RIT’s Center for MAGIC and professor of interactive games and media. “It is our hope that by hosting speakers that challenge our assumptions and represent the cutting edge of the field that we will be able to expand our own horizons and contribute broadly to the education of the RIT community.”

The speaker series will continue throughout the academic year. Mary Chayko, author and professor/director of interdisciplinary studies at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information, and co-chair of the school’s Social Media & Society Cluster, comes to RIT Nov. 19; Jacob Silverman, freelance journalist and author of Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection, speaks Feb. 18; and Karen Levy, an expert in how law and technology interact to regulate behavior, comes to RIT April 14.

For more information about the series, contact Jennifer Hinton at 585-475-2539 or

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