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Cultures of Participation

Media Practices, Politics and Literacy

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Edited By Hajo Greif, Larissa Hjorth, Amparo Lasén and Claire Lobet-Maris

To speak of participation today raises a series of questions on how the presence and use of new media affect modes of social participation. From a variety of theoretical, empirical and methodological perspectives, the contributions in this volume explore participation in different social realms – from everyday life, interpersonal relationships, work and leisure activities to collective and political action. This collection demonstrates that participation is a localised notion, assuming a multitude of shapes under a variety of technological, political, socio-economic, linguistic and cultural conditions.

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Part IV: Social Media and Media Practices

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Brian Simpson The Facebook Family: Information and Communication Technology Redrafting the Rules of Participation in Family Life The Facebook Family This chapter is concerned with the manner in which new forms of information and communication technology affect the regulation of family life. In particular it is concerned with the rise of the use of social networking sites as a means of communication and interaction. It will refer in particular to Facebook as an example of one of these social networks. While Facebook is but one of such sites it is probably one of the most popular, with over 177 million users around the World in 2009, although in April 2009 the founder of Facebook claimed 200 million users (Zuckerberg, 2009). In many ways, ‘Facebook’ has come to symbolise social networking sites, although other popular social networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo and Twitter also claim substantial numbers of users. However, this chapter is not concerned with the current popularity of particular social networking sites or the extent to which they are subscribed to by those online. Rather, it has as its focus the context within which online social networking operates. A central argument is that there has been a pre-occupation on the part of regulatory authorities, politicians, parents and the media with the safety of children who use social networking sites and less focus on how the regulation of this activity affects family life in a broader sense. In part this has also come about because online interaction with others...

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