Playing and Pathology: Considering Social Media as 'Secondary Transitional Objects'

Matt Hills

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this chapter I want to focus on social networking sites (SNSs), which have become emblematic of ‘Web 2.0’. The likes of Facebook and Twitter have already become objects of academic study (see Wittkower, 2010; Murthy, 2013), not to mention the focus of media news stories. As such, Facebook and Twitter are both services used by ‘produsers’ (Hills, 2009) as well as ‘discursive objects’ circulating through pop-cultural representations (Ricker Schulte, 2013, p. 5). Social media has been made to carry familiar cultural fantasies and anxieties: it allegedly captivates ‘users’, dragging irrational selves into addiction and compulsion (Larose, Kim and Peng, 2011) while commodifying the ‘free labour’ of online activities, enmeshing subjects in powerful webs of corporate control (Andrejevic, 2011, 2013). Alternatively, in a more celebratory mode, ‘citizen journalists’ and ‘citizen consumers’ are empowered as media systems become newly democratised (Gillmor, 2004; Jenkins, 2006), and as ‘ordinary creativity’ challenges professional producers’ stranglehold over media texts (Gauntlett, 2011).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia and the Inner World
Subtitle of host publicationPsycho-cultural Approaches to Emotion, Media and Popular Culture
EditorsCaroline Bainbridge, Candida Yates
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781137345547
ISBN (Print)9781137345530, 9781349466559
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


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