Affect and Social Media is an edited collection of twenty bite sized articles by leading scholars from across disciplinary boundaries. It is comprised of four distinct but related sections which are interspersed with artistic illustrations, depicting the affectivities that flow through social media. The term ‘affect’ denotes a rather slippery concept that is not as easily caught as for example ‘emotion’ or ‘feeling’. Quite often it denotes a more than or an excess to that which is felt in the human body or indexed through cultural grids of meaning. It can exist in ways which defy expectations, conventions, and representations. It is often understood as that which is vital to the emergence of the new and hence socio-cultural revolution. As life shifts ever more on-line, we find ourselves caught up in the affective flows of computer mediated practices into an ever expanding and indeterminate horizon. This compilation of articles that were initially presented at an international conference in East London, were selected on the basis of their ability to depict and conceptualise these radical movements of sociality.
Foreword by Gregory J. Seigworth
Introduction: On Affect, Social Media and Criticality by Tony D. Sampson, Darren Ellis and Stephen Maddison
Part I: Digital Emotion
Introduction to Part I by Helen Powell
1 Social Media, Emoticons and Process by Darren Ellis
2 Anticipating Affect: Trigger Warnings in a Mental Health Social Media Site by Lewis Goodings
3 Digitally Mediated Emotion: Simondon, Affectivity and Individuation by Ian Tucker
4 Visceral Data by Luke Stark
5 Psychophysiological Measures Associated with Affective States while Using Social Media by Maurizio Mauri
Part II: Mediated Connectivities, Immediacies & Intensities
Introduction to Part II by Jussi Parikka
6 Social Media and the Materialisation of the Affective Present by Rebecca Coleman
7 The Education of Feeling: Wearable Technology and Triggering Pedagogies by Alyssa D. Niccolini
8 Mediated Affect and Feminist Solidarity: Teens Using Twitter to Challenge “Rape Culture” in and Around School by Jessica Ringrose and Kaitlynn Mendes
Part III: Insecurity and Anxiety
Introduction to Part III by Darren Ellis and Stephen Maddison
9 Wupocalypse Now: Supertrolls and Other Risk Anxieties in Social Media Interactions by Greg Singh
10 Becoming User in Popular Culture by Zara Dinnen
11 YouTubeanxiety: Affect and Anxiety performance in UK Beauty vlogging by Sophie Bishop
12 Chemsex: Anatomy of a Sex Panic by Jamie Hakim
13 Designing Life? Affect and Gay Porn by Stephen Maddison
Part IV: Contagion: Image, Work, Politics and Control
Introduction to Part IV by Tony D. Sampson
14 The Mask of Ebola: Fear, Contagion, and Immunity by Yig ˘it Soncul
15 The Newsroom is No Longer a Safe Zone: Assessing the Affective Impact of Graphic User-generated Images on Journalists Working with Social Media by Stephen Jukes
16 Emotions, Social Media Communication and TV Debates by Morgane Kimmich
17 The Failed Utopias of Walden and Walden Two by Robert Wright
About the Contributors
Social media play an outsized role in our emotional lives. They continually modulate our moods and feelings. They transmit vague sensations that run through us like an infection or contagion. In order to take the measure of social media today, the essays in this volume combine empirical research with far-ranging speculation, offering us analyses that are at once surprising and disturbingly familiar.
Sampson, Ellis and Maddison’s collection is crucial to any understanding of contemporary digital culture. Bringing together many directions of affect theory, theorising across a radical plurality of sites, they skilfully hold on to a vital coherence through critical affect studies inspired by feminist and queer theory and by core contributors in the field (e.g. Clough, Gregg, Seigworth, Paasonen).
This is a thought-provoking, occasionally scary, and thoroughly fascinating exploration into the complex networked intensities within which we operate. Spanning from pedagogy to pornography, and beyond, it comes with an international focus and a profoundly interdisciplinary analytical range that make it recommended reading for all interested in understanding the key role that social media plays is contemporary culture.
Tony D. Sampson is reader in digital culture and communications at the University of East London. He is a cofounder of Club Critical Theory: Southend and director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL.
Darren Ellis CPsychol is a senior lecturer in Psychosocial Studies at the University of East London. He completed a PhD in social psychology at Loughborough University. His research has focused on conceptualising emotion and affect in a variety of empirical settings, such as through everyday surveillance, stop and search practices, social media, and acts of self-disclosure.
Stephen Maddison is Professor of Cultural Studies and Director of Research in the School of Arts and Digital Industries at the University of East London. He is a co-director of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at UEL (http://culturalstudiesresearch.org/). His research addresses questions of sexuality and gender, cultural politics and popular culture.