Social Networking: Redefining Communication in the Digital Age

Rowman & Littlefield
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Social Networking: Redefining Communication in the Digital Age fulfills a pressing demand in social network literature by bringing together international experts from the fields of communication, new media technologies, marketing and advertising, public relations and journalism, business, and education.

In this volume contributors traces online social networking practices across national borders, cultural confines, and geographic limits. The book delves into the socioeconomic, political, cultural, and professional dimensions of social networking around the globe, and explores the similarities, distinctions, and specific characteristics of social media networks in diverse settings.

The chapters offer an important contribution to the scholarly research on the uses and applications of online social networking around the world and pertain to a broad range of academic fields. Overall, the volume addresses a subject matter of keen interest to academics and practitioners alike and provides a much-needed forum for sharing innovative research practices and exchanging new ideas.
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About the author

Anastacia Kurylo is assistant professor in the Communication Studies Department at St. Joseph’s College.

Tatyana Dumova is professor in the School of Communication at Point Park University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Rowman & Littlefield
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Published on
Mar 4, 2016
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Pages
214
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ISBN
9781611477399
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / General
Social Science / Media Studies
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"A must-read for business leaders and anyone who wants to understand all the implications of a social world."---Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company

From tech visionaries Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey, a groundbreaking, must-read theory of social media--how it works, how it's changing human life, and how we can master it for good and for profit.

In barely a decade, social media has positioned itself at the center of twenty-first century life. The combined power of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine have helped topple dictators and turned anonymous teenagers into celebrities overnight. In the social media age, ideas spread and morph through shared hashtags, photos, and videos, and the most compelling and emotive ones can transform public opinion in mere days and weeks, even attitudes and priorities that had persisted for decades.

How did this happen? The scope and pace of these changes have left traditional businesses--and their old-guard marketing gatekeepers--bewildered. We simply do not comprehend social media's form, function, and possibilities. It's time we did.

In The Social Organism, Luckett and Casey offer a revolutionary theory: social networks--to an astonishing degree--mimic the rules and functions of biological life. In sharing and replicating packets of information known as memes, the world's social media users are facilitating an evolutionary process just like the transfer of genetic information in living things. Memes are the basic building blocks of our culture, our social DNA. To master social media--and to make online content that impacts the world--you must start with the Social Organism.

With the scope and ambition of The Second Machine Age and James Gleick's The Information, The Social Organism is an indispensable guide for business leaders, marketing professionals, and anyone serious about understanding our digital world--a guide not just to social media, but to human life today and where it is headed next.
Kate Losse was a grad school refugee when she joined Facebook as employee #51 in 2005. Hired to answer user questions such as “What is a poke?” and “Why can’t I access my ex-girlfriend’s profile?” her early days at the company were characterized by a sense of camaraderie, promise, and ambition: Here was a group of scrappy young upstarts on a mission to rock Silicon Valley and change the world.

Over time, this sense of mission became so intense that working for Facebook felt like more than just a job; it implied a wholehearted dedication to “the cause.” Employees were incentivized to live within one mile of the office, summers were spent carousing at the company pool house, and female employees were told to wear T-shirts with founder Mark Zuckerberg’s profile picture on his birthday. Losse started to wonder what this new medium meant for real-life relationships: Would Facebook improve our social interactions? Or would we all just adapt our behavior to the habits and rules of these brilliant but socially awkward Internet savants who have become today’s youngest power players? Increasingly skeptical, Losse graduated from customer service to the internationalization team—tasked with rolling out Facebook to the rest of the world— finally landing a seat right outside Zuckerberg’s office as his personal ghostwriter, the voice of the boy king.

This book takes us for the first time into the heart of this fast-growing information empire, inviting us to high-level meetings with Zuckerberg; lifting the veil on long nights of relentless hacking and trolling; taking us behind the scenes of raucous company parties; and introducing us to the personalities, values, and secret ambitions of the floppy-haired boy wonders who are redefining the way we live, love, and work. By revealing here what’s really driving both the business and the culture of the social network, Losse answers the biggest question of all: What kind of world is Facebook trying to build, and is it the world we want to live in?

***

“Logging on to Facebook that first day, in retrospect, was the second, and to date the last, time that any technology has captured my imagination. The first was when Apple advertised the first laptop, the PowerBook, in the 1990s—with the words, ‘What’s on your PowerBook?’

“‘World domination,’ my teenaged self- answered instinctively. That’s what these devices were made for, I thought: so small and yet so powerful, so capable of linking quickly to and between everything else in the world. From the laptop, I could write and distribute information faster than ever before. It was intoxicating to imagine, and Facebook’s sudden, faithful rendering in 2004 of the physical world into the virtual felt the same. What could you do, now that you could see and connect to everyone and everything, instantly?

“But what, also, could be diminished by such quick access? In the realm of ideas, it seemed easy: Who wouldn’t want to distribute and discuss ideas widely? However, in the realm of the personal, it seemed more complicated. What was the benefit of doing everything in public? Is information itself neutral, or do different types of information have different values, different levels of expectation of privacy, different implications for distribution and consumption? Should all information be shared equally quickly and without regard to my relationship to it? And, finally, and most important, as we ask whenever we begin a new relationship with anything, would this be good for me?”

-- From the Introduction

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