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Interactivity 2

New media, politics and society- Second edition


Alec Charles

Two years is a long time in the world of new media – a world of phubbing and selfies, of cyberbullying and neknomination, of bitcoins, Prism surveillance and Google Glass. Much has occurred since the first edition of this book: from the extraordinary social media responses to the deaths of Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and Peaches Geldof, to the Twitterstorms occasioned by allegations against a late peer of the realm, the rise of the UK Independence Party and the popularity of The Great British Bake Off. The Egyptian revolution has come undone, the Turkish government has banned YouTube, the American President has looked beyond Facebook and the British Prime Minister has started to tweet. World leaders at a 2014 summit even played an interactive nuclear war game. Emergent technologies have been held responsible for the demise of a television presenter in a snowball-related incident, the disappearance of a Pacific island and the appearance of an unfeasibly massive squid. Drawing upon developments in social networking, crowdsourcing, clicktivism, digital games and reality TV, this study asks whether the technological innovations which sponsored such absurdities might ever promote progressive modes of social interaction and political participation. Perhaps somewhat absurdly, it suggests they one day might.


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Grateful thanks for their support are due to my friends and colleagues James Crabbe, Peter Dean, Ivor Gaber, Kelly Hallam, Michael Higgins, Luke Hockley, Dan Jackson, Malcolm Keech, Mary Malcolm, Carsten Maple, James Morrison, Bill Rammell, Heather Savigny, Jon Silverman, Mick Temple, Liesbet van Zoonen, Alexis Weedon, Garry Whannel and Dominic Wring. Thanks are also due to my students, whose feedback and suggestions have been invaluable, and to all those who kindly gave their time to contribute their comments to this study: Jaak Aab, Andres Aarma, Danah Boyd, Moira Burke, Iain Dale, Gonzalo Frasca, Jane Grif fiths, Aleksei Gunter, Joe Hewitt, Andrew Keen, Adam Kramer, Davin Lengyel, Tim Loughton, Tarvi Martens, Austin Mitchell, Mark Oaten, Mart Parve, Larry Sanger, Tex Vertmann and Linnar Viik. And particular thanks are of course due to Lucy Melville, Mette Bundgaard, Holly Catling and Mary Critchley at Peter Lang.

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