By G. Langlois

The hunt for that means is an important human job. it's not almost about agreeing on a few definitions in regards to the international, gadgets, and other people; it's a moral technique of beginning as much as locate new probabilities. Langlois makes use of case reports of social media structures (including fb, Twitter, and Amazon) to revisit conventional conceptions of which means.

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Extra info for Meaning in the Age of Social Media

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There is, of course, the notable exception of Wikipedia as a not-for-profit entity, but the fact is that what we understand as social media are corporations that derive a profit out of users’ communication. Curiously enough, the corporate aspects of social media tend not to be included in many analyses examining the formation of new communicative practices on social media, for instance, the practices that shape participatory culture (Jenkins 2006b). We could say that the field is divided between the study of social media communication on the one hand, and the political economy of social media on the other.

With regard to the question of meaning, the issue lies in the framework that is currently used, one that focuses exclusively on the proliferation of meaning, because such proliferation was prevented in the previous mass-media context. As I have posited at the beginning of this chapter, social media corporations are less about meaning as the proliferation of content, and more about meaning as the attribution of meaningfulness to information. The business of social media is to find the information that will be meaningful to a particular user.

From a software studies perspective, it appears that the platform assigns a specific cultural form and visibility to the software in charge of making sense of users and the information they provide, and GOVERNING ME ANING 47 this can take the form of, for instance, an avatar, or a recommendation system that actively requires feedback from users, or a system that is invisible for users yet has a central effect on the customization of information. User agency is closely tied to the management of cultural perception, in that platforms have different ways of defining the field of users’ communicative agencies.

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