Given the global growth and pervasiveness of social media, the Unit for Social Semantics (USS) at the University of Galway was set up to look at social media from a unique standpoint: building the technologies to analyse and improve social systems, but also developing an understanding of how people/organisations are using social media to collaborate around shared goals and collectively drive social change and innovation. 

The Unit provides a focussed hub for Social Semantic Web research, such that it can be referred to nationally and internationally as a contact point for those interested in both the technologies and the understanding of social media. The fusion of technology-oriented research along with the social science and information systems research at the University of Galway provides the necessary combination of intellectual capital and diverse research environments that are required for social media research activities.

The Unit works with many international partners and is a leader of and/or member of various working groups that enable it to stay abreast of and involved in emerging activities. USS is the longest established research group within the Institute, set up as the Social Software Subcluster in 2005.