How the Media Constructs Reality
Chapter 5: Fake Personas and Blog Hoaxes: Illusions in Social Media
· 5 · fake personas and blog hoaxes Illusions in Social Media To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up. —Oscar Wilde The emergence of the participatory Internet and a collaborative media pro- duction culture has made the relation between the media and its audienc- es more dialogical, interactive, and challenges the distinction between the producers and the audiences (O’Reilly, 2005; Benkler, 2006; Jenkins, 2006b; Enli, 2008; Bruns, 2010). This chapter explores the impact of these changes on the “authenticity contract” and the notion of authenticity in mediated communication. Like every new media technology, the web has been subject to both great expectations and great fears; in line with, for example, radio and TV, the Internet has been expected to democratize the means of media production and make its representations of reality more authentic (Brecht, 1930/1983; Castells, 2007; Shirky, 2008). Migration of communication to online me- dia has, however, also been argued to undermine editorial quality standards and replace real relationships with pale substitutes (Postman, 1992; Fischer, 1992; Anderson & Milbrandt, 2005; Keen, 2007; Siegel, 2008; Baym, 2010; Morozov, 2011; Stalder, 2012). This chapter will contribute to this discussion 88 mediated authenticity by investigating authenticity illusions in blogs and social media, and how trust relations are established in these arenas. This chapter has three main parts. The first part will discuss the growth of social media, with emphasis on the dilemmas of online trust and authen- ticity in online media. The second part analyses authenticity puzzles in social media,...
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