Critical Theory and Social Media


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Critical Theory and Social Media

  1. 1. Critical Theory and Social Media #SMCriticalTheory @NewhouseSM6 By Christopher Fers Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
  2. 2. Plato I’m a Philosopher and a pretty cool guy.RTTheuthtoThamus“Here is as anaccomplishment, my lord the King, whichwill improve both the wisdom and thememory of the Egyptians.”
  3. 3. #CriticalTheory - Reaction to positivism - Stresses the difference between essence and appearance (Fuchs, 2011, 11) - Views society in terms of power dynamics. - Roots in Marxist writingFuchs, C. (2011). Foundations of critical media and information studies. NewYork, NY: Routledge.
  4. 4. Karl Marxphilosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, beard.“The class which has the means of materialproduction at its disposal has control at thesame time over the means of mentalproduction.”
  5. 5. KarlMarxphilosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, epic beard.“The hand-loom gives you society with thefeudal lord; the steam-mill, society with theindustrial capitalist. #PovertyOfPhilosophy”
  6. 6. What society, then, does mass media give us? An elite class with means of production? An elite class with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo? A class able to apply a filter to encoded and decoded messages, thus controlling the “mental production” of a society?
  7. 7. Web 2.0 Wikis, Blogs, Social networking, open source, open content Favors user participation Ideology rather than technology.
  8. 8. Web 2.0 and the Advent ofSocial Media: A Wrench in the Gears of the Critical Theory Apparatus The Amateur Class have the technologies to create media messages …have the platforms to disseminate messages
  9. 9. Theory of Audience Labor (Dallas Smythe) People are a commodity Sold by producers to advertisers Audience performs a labor for advertiser Audience pays advertiser through purchase
  10. 10. Audience Labor of New Media Environment Platform ownership User generated content creates revenue at fewer costs Social media users provide advertisers dream: FREE INFORMATION
  11. 11. Case Study: Facebook’s Beacon  2007, Facebook introduces a feature called Beacon.  Zuck apologized and added opt-out feature.  2009, Beacon removed. Facebook then automatically used Target Advertising.
  12. 12. Is It All Exploitive? Kickstarter
  13. 13. Critical Theory and Social Media By Christopher Fers Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications