A paper I originally wrote for the ANZCA conference which was held at Swinburne University in Melbourne last year has just been published in the Australian edition of the Global Media Journal as part of a special issue comprised of papers from the conference.
ANZCA 2014 had papers from about 250 scholars, and I was thrilled to be approached by the conference organisers who asked to publish mine in this special edition.
You can find the journal here and my paper here. It’s primarily a discussion of how we might understand the notion of sociality being advance in the phrase ‘social media,’ if we look beyond the hype and marketing slogans which claim that social media makes the world more connected, collaborative and democratic.
Here’s the Abstract:
In numerous marketing materials, Facebook famously claims that it is making the Web more social. What is left to the reader’s imagination, is quite what the use of the term ‘social’ – both in Facebook’s marketing materials and other related applications of the term surrounding ‘social media’ – actually means. Following in the footsteps of related hype-filled terminology such as ‘Web 2.0’ and ‘interactive multimedia’, the term ‘social media’ has become a seemingly ubiquitous part of communicational ecologies, yet it is often difficult to arrive at a clear understanding of what the term denotes.
This paper explores a range of ways that we can make sense of the ‘social’ in ‘social media’, exploring existing definitions of the terms alongside the range of online content to which the term is understood to refer. These categorisations form a point of departure for considering social media through three overlapping apertures derived from political economy, software studies and Actor-Network Theory. These perspectives suggest that the social spaces performatively transduced by and through social media are ones where the commodification of communication, algorithmic filtering practices, and network topographies play increasingly prevalent roles, demonstrating a marked departure from previous notions of community and society.