BOOK REVIEW: Social media: a critical introduction by Christian Fuchs

Social Media: a critical introduction by Christian Fuchs is probably the most thorough text book on social media to date. The book offers a detailed introduction to the concept of social media and also to critical theory. Fuch delves into the positive and negative discourses on social media and provides case studies on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikileaks and Wikipedia.┬áIn Fuch’s words

“We live in turbulent times that are shaped by worldwide inequality, global ecological crisis, war and terrorism, high unemployment, precarious living and working conditions, rising poverty levels etc. Can all benefit in this situation from social media? Or is it likely that only some benefit at the expense of others?”

The book is heavy going at times and I don’t agree with all of his critiques, but it is an excellent resource for students interested in social media and sociology. Chapter 4 ‘Social Media and Communication Power’ and Chapter 8 ‘Twitter and Democracy: A New Public Sphere’ are particularly relevant for anyone with an interest in social media and international development. His personal case studies on WikiLeaks and the Egyptian revolution, where he analyses nearly a million tweets a very illuminating.

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