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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 Kelly Hallam, Emily Harmer, Peter Harrop, Luke Hockley, Michael Higgins, Dan Jackson, Brendan O’Sullivan, Phil Potter, Bill Rammell, Heather Savigny, Mick Temple, Liesbet van Zoonen, Garry Whannel, Tim Wheeler 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, Danah Boyd, Moira Burke, Iain Dale, Gonzalo Frasca, Jane Griffiths, Aleksei Gunter, Joe Hewitt, Andrew Keen, Adam Kramer, Davin Lengyel, Tim Loughton, Austin Mitchell, Mark Oaten, Mart Parve, Larry Sanger and Linnar Viik. Thanks also, of course, to all of my friends and colleagues at the University of Chester. Particular thanks are of course due to Lucy Melville at Peter Lang for her continuing support and for her suggestion that it might be time for a second edition – and also to Alessandra Anzani at Peter Lang for her assistance in the editorial and production processes. And thanks of course to all on Facebook and Twitter.

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