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The Social Media Age

The Social Media Age

  • Zoetanya Sujon - London College of Communication, University of the Arts London

April 2021 | 336 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Exploring power and participation in a connected world.

Social media are all around us. For many, they are the first things to look at upon waking and the last thing to do before sleeping. Integrated seamlessly into our private and public lives, they entertain, inform, connect (and sometimes disconnect) us. 

They’re more than just social though. In addition to our experiences as everyday users, understanding social media also means asking questions about our society, our culture and our economy. What we find is dense connections between platform infrastructures and our experience of the social, shaped by power, shifting patterns of participation, and a widening ideology of connection. 

This book introduces and examines the full scope of social media. From the social to the technological, from the everyday to platform industries, from the personal to the political. It brings together the key concepts, theories and research necessary for making sense of the meanings and consequences of social media, both hopefully and critically. 

Dr Zoetanya Sujon is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for Communications and Media at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.
Part 1: What are Social Media and Where Do They Come From?
Chapter 1: The Social Media Landscape
Chapter 2: The Historical Origins of Social Media
Chapter 3: Power and Ideology
Part 2: Sociality and Social Technologies
Chapter 4: Understanding the ‘Social’ in Social Media
Chapter 5: Material Infrastructures and Platformization
Chapter 6: Participation, Culture and Protest
Part 3: Everyday Life and Social Media
Chapter 7: Selfie and Society: Snapchat and Instagram
Chapter 8: Privacy and Dataveillance
Chapter 9: Social Screens: From YouTube to TikTok
Chapter 10: Love, Intimacy and Personal Connections

Social media platforms have changed social life so completely in the past 15 years that it seems impossible to capture all that in a comprehensive book, but Zoetanya Sujon has managed it in this impressive text. Theoretically and geopolitically smart, and crammed full with great examples of social media's role in both our politics and everyday intimacies, this is more than a textbook: it's a primer for living in the age of social media. 

Nick Couldry
Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory at London School of Economics and Political Science

Amidst hope, hype, panic and euphoria around social media, this book clears the way – with evidence, and a compelling writing style. A must-read for students and scholars who wish to make sense of a complex and ever-changing landscape.

Ranjana Das
Reader in Media and Communication, University of Surrey

Zoetanya Sujon gives us something unique with The Social Media Age: a history of the present. It is both a playful and problematic history, one that makes immediate sense from a users' point of view as much as it enables us to step back and reflect. 

Mark Deuze
Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam

This textbook provides an accessible and incisive overview of how our world has changed in the social media age. Reflecting on milestone events, social movements, and internet trends of the past decade, Sujon deep-dives into case studies to provide illuminating insight on how various social media cultures can be deciphered in the context of useful frameworks, and in light of evolving platform and user cultures.

Crystal Abidin
Curtin University and Jönköping University

Social media are full of contrasts. They’re at once public and private, commercial and interpersonal, hyperglobal and hyperlocal. Zoetanya’s Sujon’s The Social Media Age navigates these paradoxes with deft precision, balancing the past and the present, the theoretical and the empirical, and the good and the bad of digital connection. The result is a comprehensive overview that prepares readers for every twist and turn of our inescapably networked lives.

Ryan M. Milner
Associate Professor at College of Charleston

The Social Media Age is an essential textbook for truly understanding the current social media landscape and its societal implications. This well-written and well-balanced book leaves no stone unturned and is packed full of exciting case studies and topics, from Pokémon Go to Cambridge Analytica. I will be assigning this book to my students for many years to come.

Dr. Ysabel Gerrard
Lecturer in Digital Media and Society, University of Sheffield

More than a textbook, The Social Media Age gives us invaluable tools for thinking through the complex, elusive, but omnipresent technologies of social media. It weaves together a wide range of stories about what we do with social media and what social media does with us and positions these narratives within neatly described material and theoretical contexts in ways that both illuminate and complicate.

Kylie Jarrett
Associate Professor of Media Studies at National University of Ireland Maynooth

The Social Media Ag
e is a compelling introduction to the critical study of social media. Students will find a wealth of engagingly written case studies from #BlackLivesMatter to YouTube influencer culture to digital dating in socially conservative countries. With its global and interdisciplinary perspective, this textbook easily fits in undergraduate curricula in sociology, anthropology, and media and communications across national contexts.

Jonathan Corpus Ong
Associate Professor of Global Digital Media, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Zo Sujon has written the most detailed yet theoretical framework for the study of social media. This book will be indispensable to students and researchers alike. The scope is impressive, with a huge range of highly original case studies very usefully discussed. Excitingly, Sujon pushes forward theories of the selfie, showing how this new mainstay of online communication is closely linked to platforms, which facilitate public connection in highly specific ways, and mapping out emerging areas demanding ongoing research.  

Mehita Iqani
Professor in Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

The Social Media Age
perfectly captures the disruptive capacities of social media platforms and user practices. Incorporating historical, political, and technical perspectives Sujon reminds the reader of the need to critically assess the embedded impact of social media in our daily lives. This book should be required reading for all media and communication students.

Greg Elmer
Professor of Professional Communication at Ryerson University