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Five of the best books about social media

Five of the best books about social media

From Covid conspiracy theories to recent speculations about Catherine, Princess of Wales, social media is at the heart of how we share information, and misinformation, with one another in the 21st century. For those who want to have a better understanding of social media and how it affects us, here are a selection of titles that explore how we consume, share, and manipulate information on social media platforms.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Journalist and author Jon Ronson argues we live in “a great renaissance of public shaming”, and this book tracks down some of the many victims of online shaming to understand what happened to them as a result. In the process, we learn about Ronson’s own values, question our own, and figure out how we’ve reached a time where an online feed can become a social courtroom.

Doppelganger by Naomi Klein

After getting repeatedly mistaken for feminist-turned-conspiracy-theorist Naomi Wolf online, and then in real life, Naomi Klein penned Doppelganger as an earnest and introspective look at herself. The book explores how conspiracy theories and lies spread quickly through the internet, and how the social and political climate of the physical world manipulates the way we experience online platforms. While not exclusively about social media, the story behind Doppelganger is a perfect case of the ways our digital lives and identities intersect with what we experience in reality – and how dangerous the repercussions of spreading online lies can be.

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Irresistible by Adam Alter

Have you ever wondered why you can’t stop scrolling on your TikTok “for you” page, or obsessing over how many likes you got on a recent Facebook post? You’re not alone, and Adam Alter’s book explores why we get sucked into the digital world. He answers what makes an online addiction, whether it be to emails, Instagram, or Netflix, different to other forms of addiction – and warns us of the dangers this could cause long-term. As well as introspection, he gives practical solutions to how digital addiction can be controlled for good.

Extremely Online by Taylor Lorenz

Journalist Taylor Lorenz calls this book “a social history of social media”; she uses real-life case studies of mothers, teenagers, politicians and influencers to assess how social media touches all demographics. Extremely Online explores topics from the digital economy and influencer culture, to what makes moments go viral on Twitter and how this is all influencing the way we socialise and understand the world. At its core, this book explores the idea of what it means to connect – and how social media as an innovation has warped communication.

TikTok Boom by Chris Stokel-Walker

TikTok is arguably one of the most significant advancements in social media in the past two decades. This book by journalist and writer Chris Stokel-Walker explores how the app is changing the way users interact with content. It moves away from the social-commentary style of the other books mentioned here, instead using business and technology analysis as a means to describe wider socio-political repercussions of the app. Stokel-Walker bridges the gap between the digital and the physical, showing the feedback loop that exists between what happens online on platforms such as TikTok and the real world.

Source: theguardian.com