Zizi Papacharissi A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites [Paperback]

Zizi Papacharissi

336 pages, Routledge, English, ISBN: 978-0415801812
Although hundreds of millions of people use social media platforms almost instinctively, the value, the meaning and the scale of what they are doing there is often missed, or, at best, only guessed at. In the context of a sort of global social experiment (which can’t be disconnected from the rise of related industries), personal dynamics have to deal with a completely different dimension that does not fall neatly into the “public” or “private” categories, but one that takes place in a new hybrid place involving the self and its definition at large. This book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of social networks. It’s the outcome of a one-day conference and the author’s analyses are usually critical and scientific data-driven, offering accurate perspectives. The keynote by A. Barabasi focuses on “freescale networks” (which have the basic property of potentially being reduced by up to 98 per cent without adversely affecting functionality) gives a proper frame to the rest of the book. Here there are critical analysis of virtual economies of social relationships, which start from the general frame of “self presentation and social connection” before addressing compelling concepts like “peer influence”, “invisible audience”, “collapsed contexts”, “collective narcissism” and “social capital.” Understanding how the online self forms, is shared, exploited and promoted is absolutely necessary for our future relationships. Social network arenas are still to be properly unraveled, but this book seems like a good starting point, especially for the many skeptical academics.