Platforms, Practices, Politics: Towards an Open History of Social Media


March 27, 2013


Social media has been with us as a mainstream phenomenon for barely a decade now. That period has seen multiple, distinct paradigm shifts in the business models, uses, and discourses surrounding social media, as well as in approaches to conducting research on and through particular social media platforms. In this paper I draw on recent attempts within media, communication and cultural studies to go beyond static, single-platform snapshots and to develop more synthesized, general accounts of how social media has evolved since the early 2000s. I show how we might identify patterns of change across platforms and over time, and discuss the practical and conceptual challenges of opening up these short but dynamic histories of the proprietary web.


Jean Burgess

Jean Burgess is an Associate Professor of Digital Media Studies and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (CCI) at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Her research focuses on the uses, politics and methodological implications of social and mobile media platforms.