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The Host in the Machine

  • ID: 2720016
  • Book
  • July 2010
  • 150 Pages
  • Elsevier Science and Technology
This book tackles online social networks by navigating these systems from the birth to the death of their digital presence. Navigating the social within the digital can be a contentious undertaking, as social networks confuse the boundary between offline and online relationships. These systems work to bring people together in an online environment, yet participation can dislocate users from other relationships and deviant 'online' behaviour can create 'offline' issues. The author begins by examining the creation of a digital presence in online networks popularized by websites such as Facebook and MySpace. The book explores how the digital presence influences how social, cultural and professional relationships are discovered, forged, maintained and broken, and journeys through the popular criticisms of social networking such as employee time-wasting, bullying, stalking, the alleged links between social networks and suicide and the decline of a user's public image. Social networks are often treated as morally ambiguous spaces, which highlights a dissonance between digital and social literacies. This discord is approached through an exploration of the everyday undercurrents present in social networks. The discussion of the digital presence ends by addressing the intricacies of becoming 'digitally dead', which explores how a user removes their identity, with finality, from social networks and the entire web.

- Identifies the undercurrents present in social networks and explores how these influence everyday life- Provides insight into how the digital presence insidiously encroaches on offline aspects of a user's life- Examines the idea of becoming 'digitally dead' by discussing the often taboo subject of virtual and non-virtual suicide in the context of social networks

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About the author

Chapter 1: Introduction





Chapter 2: Name/age/education/status update: creating a digital presence

Chapter 3: All a twitter: celebrities and social networking

Sycophants and imposters

I bet you look good on the dancefloor.


Chapter 4: Putting the social in social networks

Chapter 5: (Net)Working: online social networks and the New Economy

Working nine to five . what a way to make a living

Digitally present


Chapter 6: You've been poked: bullying, harassment and everyday undercurrents

Everyday undercurrents

Did I really need to know that?

Chapter 7: Are we dead yet?

Chapter 8: Conclusion


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Thomas-Jones, Angela
Dr Angela Thomas-Jones is a part-time academic at Murdoch University, Western Australia and editor of the Popular Culture Collective's community and hub projects. Thomas-Jones' research focuses on different aspects of popular culture such as fashion, body politics, the Internet, creative industries and youth.
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