CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Public Interest Social Media Solutions Workshop

June 5, 2024

The Applied Social Media Lab seeks applications for a workshop dedicated to imagining and building new public interest technology. Applications are due June 30, 2024.

This call is now closed.

The Applied Social Media Lab (ASML) at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center invites designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, policy experts, and civil society advocates to apply to a one-day workshop to imagine and build new technology that supports healthier social media ecosystems. ASML will host two versions of the workshop – one in-person and one remote – to stimulate dialogue about social media technology which centers the public interest.

The goal of the workshop is to facilitate interactive, creative discussions about new approaches for social media technology. To apply, participants must submit a proposal for such a new approach; the proposal may involve new software, new protocols, new datasets, or another kind of social-media-related product. Proposals should be original and actionable, must have limited or no support from existing social media platforms, and must focus on improving the public interest. Accepted participants will share and constructively critique their proposals with other participants and with ASML staff. At the end of the program, participants will have received valuable feedback and networked with a diverse community of responsible tech contributors. 

In this workshop, you will:

  • Engage in a collaborative workshop with like-minded professionals from diverse fields, including design, engineering, entrepreneurship, policy, and civil society.
  • Present your proposal and receive constructive feedback from expert peers, allowing you to refine and enhance your concept.
  • Participate in facilitated sessions designed to foster creative collaboration, potentially leading to new, consolidated product ideas.
  • Become part of a community dedicated to building socially-responsible tech.

We invite participants to apply via this link and to include their CVs, a proposal (see below for specifications), and responses to a few survey questions. The social media proposal will be used as a conversation starter and model creative collaboration. Applicants should indicate their availability for either of the following tracks: in-person workshop on July 30 or the remote workshop on July 31.

Please submit your application by 5:00PM ET on June 30, 2024.

Who should apply?

We welcome applications from a wide range of professional backgrounds who are passionate about transforming the social media landscape. Ideal candidates will have demonstrated at least three years of professional experience in a related field. 

Applicants should be committed to interdisciplinary collaboration and be prepared to fully engage with the event participants and ASML staff for the duration of the event.

Social Media Proposal Format

The workshop solicits creative proposals which seek to facilitate healthier online interactions. Examples of relevant project topics include civil discourse, personal safety, transparency tools, and platform interoperability. Participants should format their proposals as a slide deck (pdf, ppt, etc). The slide deck should be structured as follows: 

  1. SLIDE 1: Overview and problem space– Describe your proposal and the issue to be solved (up to 50 words).
  2. SLIDE 2: Objectives and methods: Provide a description of what your proposal seeks to achieve and how (up to 50 words). 
  3. SLIDE 3: Status & Timeline: Provide your current status (early-stage, late-stage, deployment, etc.) and the ideal timeline for your proposal’s development.
  4. SLIDE 4: Challenges & questions: Questions that you are facing now + your current development challenges.
  5. SLIDE 5: Needs (be specific!)  Specific needs that you are searching for and why they are important to your project (e.g., “I am searching for UX design skills to produce a high-fidelity prototype so that I can present to partnering platforms”).

We expect the deck to look “drafty” yet complete, with no more than five (5) slides and fonts no smaller than 35 points.


1 – What types of resources will participants have access to? 

Participants will be able to engage in a structured manner with a vibrant and diverse community of scholars and practitioners on the date of the workshop. Given the short-term focus of this program, access to campus services, including the library, is not available.

2- What is expected of participants during the program? 

Participants must attend the full duration of the program and engage with their cohort members and ASML staff. By the end of the convening, participants will have exchanged ideas and feedback, enhanced their own proposals, and potentially identified new collaborations.

3- I would like to apply with a collaborator or group. Should we submit a joint application, or each apply separately? 

For this program, we are only accepting individual applications. If your proposal involves another collaborator or group, we ask that you apply as an individual representing that collaborator or group.

4-Does ASML expect to have any license or rights over the projects developed during the program?

This program is designed to create a dialogue around participants’ proposals with the goal of making their proposals better. ASML expects that all ideas that are potentially developed during (or as a result of) the program will be made available under open-source licenses to ensure broad distribution and dissemination. 

5-Are you offering any feedback on rejected applications?

Due to the large number of applications that we receive, we will not offer feedback.

6-If I am accepted to the program, does this mean that the lab will adopt my proposal? 

No. Through this program, we hope to help you foster your proposal and connect with a community of individuals who may contribute to your ideation and/or proposal implementation. 

7-Is the program looking for brand new proposals only, or new components to ongoing projects apply as well? 

Both are fine!

8-Do you provide any travel and accommodation for in-person participants?

A limited travel reimbursement is available on a need basis. 

For additional questions, contact us at

About the Applied Social Media Lab

The Applied Social Media Lab (ASML) at the Berkman Klein Center (BKC) at Harvard University was created to build social media solutions in the public interest. We are a group of 25 technologists on a two-year mission, bringing industry professionals into academia to build a long-term community of socially-conscious technologists and influence the wider world toward more open practices in social media.