Now more than ever, we need to understand social media - the good as well as the bad. We need critical knowledge that helps us to navigate the controversies and contradictions of this complex digital media landscape. Only then can we make informed judgements about what's happening in our media world, and why.

Showing the reader how to ask the right kinds of questions about social media, Christian Fuchs takes us on a journey across social media, delving deep into case studies on Google, Facebook, Twitter, WikiLeaks and Wikipedia. The result lays bare the structures and power relations at the heart of our media landscape.

This book is the essential, critical guide for all students of media studies and sociology. Readers will never look at social media the same way again.

Social Media and Communication Power

Social media and communication power

Key Questions

  • What is power? What is counter-power?
  • How does power relate to communication?
  • How has social media influenced our conception of communication power?
  • What has been the role of social media-communication power in the Arab spring and the Occupy movement?

Key Concepts

  • Power
  • Counter-power
  • Manuel Castells' concept of mass self-communication
  • Communication power


Power is a key concept in political theory, but it has been defined in different ways. Max Weber says that it is the “chance of a man or a number of men to realize their own will in a social action even against the resistance of others who are participating in the action” (Weber 1978, 926). For Jürgen Habermas, power has to do with the realization of collective goals, means of coercion, symbols ...

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