How the World Changed Social Media

How the World Changed Social Media

By Daniel Miller
Book Description

How the World Changed Social Media is the first book in Why We Post, a book series that investigates the findings of anthropologists who each spent 15 months living in communities across the world. This book offers a comparative analysis summarising the results of the research and explores the impact of social media on politics and gender, education and commerce. What is the result of the increased emphasis on visual communication? Are we becoming more individual or more social? Why is public social media so conservative? Why does equality online fail to shift inequality offline? How did memes become the moral police of the internet?

Supported by an introduction to the project’s academic framework and theoretical terms that help to account for the findings, the book argues that the only way to appreciate and understand something as intimate and ubiquitous as social media is to be immersed in the lives of the people who post. Only then can we discover how people all around the world have already transformed social media in such unexpected ways and assess the consequences.

Table of Contents
  • Frontcover
  • How the World Changed Social Media
  • Series page
  • UCL  Press
  • Introduction to the series Why We Post
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents
  • Summary of contents
  • List of figures
  • List of tables
  • List of contributors
  • 1 What is social media?1
  • 2 Academic studies of social media
    • Definitions of social media
    • History and culture
    • Defined studies of social media31
    • From communication studies to social studies
    • The contribution of anthropology
  • 3 Our method and approach
    • Succeeding in failing
    • Is ethnography a method or an end?
    • What we did
    • Comparative and collaborative work
    • Ethical issues
  • 4 Our survey results
    • Theme 1: social relationships
    • Theme 2: activities on social media
    • Theme 3: privacy
    • Theme 4: commerce
    • Theme 5: attitudes towards social media
    • Conclusion
    • Background to the study
  • 5 Education and young people
    • Prior literature and research
    • From ‘formal’ to ‘informal’ learning: mitigating for perceived failings in education
    • Relationships between students: intimacy, drama and bullying
    • Teacher–​student relationships: between surveillance and engagement
    • Parent–​school relationships: mediating study
    • Conclusion
  • 6 Work and Commerce
    • The relation between work and non-​work
    • Finding and getting work
    • The significance of the social media companies
    • Entrepreneurship and networking
    • Wider values
  • 7 Online and offline relationships
    • ‘Authenticity’ and ‘mediation’: the big concerns
    • ‘Frame’ and ‘group’: approaches to understand sociality
    • From intimacy to anonymity: scalable sociality16
    • Online identity: extended and new dimensions of daily life
    • Conclusion
  • 8 Gender
    • Continuities: gendered self-​presentations
    • Discontinuities
    • Non-heteronormative sexualities
    • Conclusion
  • 9 Inequality
    • What is inequality?
    • Approaches to social media and inequality: the positive, the negative and the grounded8
    • The diversity of difference
    • Making visible social mobility
    • The limits to social media’s impact on social mobility
    • Conclusion
  • 10 Politics
    • The concern with social relations makes social media a conservative place
    • State surveillance and national politics
    • Local issues in political participation
    • Conclusion
  • 11 Visual images
    • Self-​presentation
    • Increasingly accessible and moral communication
    • Scalable sociality
    • Conclusion
  • 12 Individualism
    • Individualism and networks
    • What difference does social media make?
    • Conformity and collectivity: ‘because everybody else does it’
    • Privacy and sociability
    • Finding a balance: using social media to adjust relationships
  • 13 Does social media make people happier?
    • Studies on social media and happiness
    • Capacity and aspiration
    • Enduring social values
    • Temporary pleasure
    • Social media and added stress
    • Discussion: does social media make people look happier?
  • 14 The future
    • Four trends
    • Both – simultaneously
    • Imagining the future
    • Conclusion
  • Appendix –​ The nine ethnographies
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
  • Backcover
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