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Understanding Social Media

by Sam Hinton and Larissa Hjorth SAGE Publications Ltd
Pub Date:
Hbk 168 pages
AU$185.00 NZ$186.96
Product Status: New Edition Coming in January
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Understanding Social Media provides a critical and timely conceptual toolbox for navigating the evolution and practices of social media. Taking an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach, this book provides a clear and concise explanation of the key concepts but also goes beyond specific brands, sites and practices to show readers how to place social media more critically within the changing media and cultural landscape. As an aid to understanding, key concepts in each chapter are illustrated by case studies to give real-world examples of theory in action. Cutting across the many dimensions of social media, from the political, economic and visual, this book explores the industries, ideologies and cultural practices that are increasingly becoming part of global popular culture.

This book is essential reading for students of media studies and cultural studies.

Introduction to Social Media
What Is Web 2.0?
Social Network Sites
Participation and User Created Content
Art and Cultural Production
Social Media Games
Social, Locative and Mobile Media

Hinton and Hjorth have written an excellent introduction to the emergent field of social media studies. They examine a wide variety of pressing issues, including user-generated content, citizen journalism, location-based services (such as Google Maps and Foursquare) and the commercial applications of social data...Understanding Social Media has a broad focus and treats diverse social matter from deviantART to Kony 2012. It would be particularly useful for anyone needing a detailed overview of the field. In this sense, the book is very successful. Summing up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above. A. Moore
Sam Hinton - University of Canberra
Sam Hinton is a senior lecturer in media and course convener for the Media Arts and Production degree at the University of Canberra. He teaches units in introductory media production, motion graphics and 3D animation. This places him in the enviable position of being able to teach what he loves: using the computer as a creative tool. Sam's key academic interests include the sociological aspects of computer games and computer technologies, technical aspects of computer games, computer generated 3D graphics, the generation of procedural worlds and narratives, data visualisation (especially in relation to cultural materials), the philosophy and history of technology and network histories.

Sam is a past graduate of the professional writing degree at the University of Canberra, but his interests in computers and computing has taken him in strange and different directions. After graduating Sam worked briefly with The Canberra Times, then as a technical writer for an IT company. During this time he developed an interest in hypertext and the Internet, which at the time (1993) was only just emerging as a serious public medium in Australia. These interests led him to take up a job as publications officer for the Centre for Networked Information and Publishing at the Australian National University (ANU), where he was involved in a lot of early web design and development work at that institution.

Following his work at the ANU, Sam became involved in a federal government committee that established the basic guidelines for the publication of government information online. Sam left the ANU in 1998 to begin a PhD at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Sam's PhD is about the early development of the Internet in Australia.

From 1998 to 2003 Sam was also heavily involved as a programmer in the development of a modification ( or ''mod'') for the computer game Quake 3. At the invitation of Id Software (the people who make Quake), Sam flew over to Mesquite, Texas twice for Id Software's annual Quakecon where he helped his fellow mod team members showcase their mod.

In 2003 Sam joined the University of Canberra as a lecturer. He was awarded his PhD from La Trobe University in 2006 and has since been developing his research interests. He is currently working on research involving cultural interfaces as part of the Digital Design and Media research cluster within the Faculty of Arts and Design as well as a number of other personal projects.

Larissa Hjorth - School of Media and Communication, RMIT
Larissa Hjorth is researcher, artist and lecturer who has taught Media Cultures 1 & 2 and Narrative and Communication in the Games Programs since its inception in 2005. Since 2000, Hjorth has been researching and publishing on gendered customizing of mobile communication, gaming and virtual communities in the Asia–Pacific, much of which is detailed in her book, Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific (London: Routledge, 2008). Hjorth has published widely on the topic in journals such as Convergence journal, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Continuum, ACCESS, Fibreculture and Southern Review.