• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Understanding Social Media provides a critical and timely conceptual toolbox for navigating the evolution and practices of social media. Taking an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach, this book provides a clear and concise explanation of the key concepts but also goes beyond specific brands, sites and practices to show readers how to place social media more critically within the changing media and cultural landscape.

As an aid to understanding, key concepts in each chapter are illustrated by case studies to give real-world examples of theory in action. Cutting across the many dimensions of social media, from the political, economic and visual, this book explores the industries, ideologies and cultural practices that are increasingly becoming part of global popular culture.

This book is essential reading for students of media studies and cultural studies.


Attempting to understand social media is a daunting task because the questions and problems that social media provoke are a reflection on some of the most fundamental questions we are grappling with in contemporary societies. As a vehicle for popular culture, social media is a dynamic and ever-evolving creature in which use-by dates perpetually loom in the face of the new, novelty practice. Consider Microsoft's Hotmail. Once the key email site, its use now evokes embarrassment and shame with comments like ‘You're not still using Hotmail?’ To use an old social network site (SNS) like MySpace evokes a reference to the user being not just old-fashioned but also obsolete. What technologies we use reflect our taste-cultures. They reflect localities as competing technological, socio-cultural, economic ...

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