The Powers & Perils of Social Media, Thursday, October 17


Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms have transformed people’s relationships with culture, the media, and one another. These technologies have demonstrated that they have the power to sway popular opinion, raise awareness, and inspire movements. They can spark, build, and foster community…or be manipulated to create negativity and discord. 

Join the National Institute of Social Sciences for a first-of-its-kind forum exploring social media’s pervasive influence on our society, politics, and culture. Dario Spina, chief marketing officer at Viacom Velocity, will lead a high-level discussion with experts from academia, journalism, social technology, and industry.

The forum will begin at noon on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at Viacom’s White Box event space, at its New York headquarters at 1515 Broadway. Tickets, including a box lunch, begin at $50 ($25 for students with ID).

Panelist Biographies

Heidi Boisvert is the founder, CEO, and creative director of the futurePerfect lab, a boutique creative agency that works with not-for-profit, cultural, and educational institutions to develop imaginative, playful applications of integrated media and emerging technology.

John Gerzema is CEO of Harris Insights & Analytics, a leading public opinion, market research and strategy firm known widely for The Harris Poll. An author, strategist, speaker and consultant, Mr. Gerzema is a pioneer in the use of data to identify social change and adapt to new trends.

Anne Nelson is a journalist, consultant, and professor specializing in the area of international media development. She has worked extensively as an analyst, evaluator, and practitioner in the field. Ms. Nelson has written extensively on media, conflict, and human rights.

After a five-year detour to Yahoo Finance, David Pogue has returned to The New York Times, where he was the weekly tech columnist from 2000 to 2013. Mr. Pogue now writes the “Crowdwise” feature for the “Smarter Living” section.

Julie Scelfo is a writer and journalist based in New York. She was a Fall 2018 TED Resident in New York, and is a former staff writer/current contributor to The New York Times, where she wrote stories about society and human behavior.

Dario Spina is the chief marketing officer of Viacom Velocity, an award-winning marketing team that develops and customizes insights-driven, branded entertainment and fan experiences for advertising partners. Mr. Spina leads U.S.-led partner marketing and creative efforts within Viacom’s Global Entertainment Group.

Andrea Sullivan joined VaynerMedia in 2018 as its first ever chief client officer, overseeing the business and the brand. She is responsible for helping VaynerMedia scale up globally and broaden its reputation. Previously, Ms. Sullivan worked at Omnicom and Interbrand, most recently as their global chief marketing officer.

Fabiola Torres is vice president for global marketing at Beats by Dr. Dre, a division of Apple and a leading audio brand founded in 2006 by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. An expert on integrated, multichannel marketing, Ms. Torres was previously senior director of global brand marketing at Nike.

About the National Institute of Social Sciences
Established in 1912, the National Institute of Social Sciences ( is a voluntary association of public-spirited citizens who explore issues of urgent and lasting concern. One of the nation’s oldest honorary societies, the National Institute sponsors speeches, discussions, and events that encourage balanced, non-partisan debate and discussion; celebrates distinguished Americans and world leaders who have contributed at the highest level to the welfare and improvement of society; and provides financial support to emerging scholars who are conducting research in the social sciences.