You are here

Social Media

Social Media
A Critical Introduction

Third Edition

June 2021 | 448 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Social media are an integral part of contemporary society; transforming the way we communicate, use information and understand the world, so we must explore critical questions about social media and dig deeper into issues of ownership, power, class and (in)justice. This book does just that, equipping students with a critical understanding of the complexities and contradictions at the heart of social media’s relationship with society.

The revised and expanded Third Edition
  • Explores populism, racism and nationalism in a new chapter on right-wing authoritarianism.
  • Introduces the phenomenon of social media influencers and in the age of Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.
  • Explains how big data is central to social media in a new chapter on big data capitalism and imperialism.
  • Explores the growing prominence of platforms and platform capitalism.
  • Challenges you to envision and achieve a truly social media that serves the purposes of a just and fair world.
There are winners and losers in the age of digital capitalism. This book is an essential guide for anyone who wants to critically understand how we got here, and what we can do to change it.

1. What Is a Critical Introduction to Social Media?
2. What Are Social Media?
3. Big Data Capitalism
4. The Power and Political Economy of Social Media
5. Google: Good or Evil Search Engine?
6. Facebook and WhatsApp: Surveillance in the Age of Fake News
7. Influencer Capitalism: Reified Consciousness in the Age of Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat
8. Twitter and Democracy: A New Public Sphere?
9. Right-Wing Authoritarianism on Social Media
10. Weibo: Power, Ideology, and Social Struggles in China
11. The Sharing Economy of Airbnb, Uber, and Upwork
12. Platform Capitalism
13. Wikipedia: A New Democratic Form of Collaborative Work and Production?
14. Capitalist Social Media’s Major Problems and Alternatives
15. A Manifesto for Truly Social Media

In the fast-changing world of social media, it is imperative to have a text that changes with the times. With several new chapters covering Big Data, Trump, the challenge from China, platform capitalism and more, this thoroughly revised third edition of Social Media does just that, even as it retains a strong commitment to critical theory, democratic values, and digital activism.


Vincent Mosco
Author of The Smart City in a Digital World

It covers our topics on New Media and Society

Dr Henri-Count Evans
Journalism, University of Swaziland
April 6, 2024

Excellent book (as per previous additions). We use this as the recommended reading for multiple weeks.

Dr James Dennis
Social, Historical & Literary Studies, Portsmouth University
July 5, 2021

Good overview of current issues around social media platforms and actors around them. New chapters and discussions might resonate very well with the interests of many students.
I particularly welcomed the addition of discussion of non-western platforms.

Dr Víctor Ávila Torres
Sociology Department, York University
April 20, 2021