26 June 2017

Why We Post: Anthropologists take on Social Media

In response to our posts last week about the presence and role of anthropologists and other academics on social media, I stumbled across the Why We Post, Social Media Through the Eyes of the World website.

From Why We Post website, you can delve deeper into their 15 Discoveries about social media. You can also download their free e-book from UCL Press. These resources are evidence-based, accessible, and use a global perspective to understand social media from various perspectives.

From their publication, How The World Changed Social Media, authors Daniel Miller, Elisabetta Costa, Nell Haynes, Tom McDonald, Razvan Nicolescu, Jolynna Sinanan, Juliano Spyer and Shriram Venkatraman, define social media as follows (2016, x):

Social media should not be seen primarily as the platforms upon which people post, but rather as the contents that are posted on these platforms. These contents vary considerably from region to region, which is why a comparative study is necessary. The way in which we describe social media in one place should not be understood as a general description of social media: it is rather a regional case. Social media is today a place within which we socialise, not just a means of communication.

Their approach to social media is unique as they propose the following collaborating ideas:
  • Propose a theory of scalable sociality
  • Engage a theory of polymedia
  • Reject the notion that online spaces are separate from 'real life', and
  • Propose a 'theory of attainment' to describe the new capacities of human communication.
Check out this interesting resource (project started in 2016) in the light of anthro everywhere!'s discussion on social media last week or, as a resource to begin discussions of social media, communication, and global context in the classroom.

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