Lisa Silvestri, author of “Friended at the Front: Social Media in the American War Zone,” will be at Kansas State University April 20 and 21 to participate in several events.
Silvestri will deliver the 17th annual Huck Boyd Lecture in Community Media, “Remembering our friends at the front, at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 20, in the K-State Alumni Center Ballroom. The lecture is free and open to the public.
That day, she also will participate in a roundtable discussion on the impact of social media on soldiers and families in transition.
On Friday, April 21, Silvestri will be the keynote speaker at the annual conference of Kansas Professional Communicators.
Her visit is co-sponsored by the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the university’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs.
“Huck Boyd was a great believer in preserving small towns and small-town media, and this lecture series in his name helps highlight the importance of community journalism in Kansas and across the nation,” said Gloria Freeland, director of the center and assistant professor in journalism and mass communications.
Silvestri will discuss how social media are changing what it’s like to be at war, exploring its impact — good, bad and ugly.
“For most of us, clicking ‘like’ on social media has become fairly routine,” Silvestri said. “For a Marine, clicking ‘like’ from the battlefield lets his entire social network — including loved ones — know he’s still alive. This is the first time in the history of modern warfare that U.S. troops have direct, instantaneous connection to civilian life back home.”
Ret. Lt. Col. Art DeGroat, executive director of military affairs at Kansas State University, said Silvestri’s visit to campus is important and timely.
“Silvestri’s research is profoundly relevant and needed to help us understand the uniqueness of the post-9/11 generation of veterans and their families,” DeGroat said. “Engaging with her at K-State will enhance our capabilities as a premier military-inclusive public research university.”
Jean Folkerts, interim director of the A.Q. Miller School, agrees.
“Silvestri’s visit gives faculty and students a great opportunity to understand a unique use of social media — that of soldiers at the front being able to communicate with their families,” she said. “Our faculty members exchange lectures and information with many of the information professionals at Fort Riley, and we are delighted to have this opportunity to further understand the challenges that face our troops at the front.”
The A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.