Internet trolls live to upset as many people as possible, using all the technical and psychological tools at their disposal. They gleefully whip the media into a frenzy over a fake teen drug crisis; they post offensive messages on Facebook memorial pages, traumatizing grief-stricken friends and family; they use unabashedly racist language and images. They take pleasure in ruining a complete stranger's day and find amusement in their victim's anguish. In short, trolling is the obstacle to a kinder, gentler Internet. To quote a famous Internet meme, trolling is why we can't have nice things online. Or at least that's what we have been led to believe. In this provocative book, Whitney Phillips argues that trolling, widely condemned as obscene and deviant, actually fits comfortably within the contemporary media landscape. Trolling may be obscene, but, Phillips argues, it isn't all that deviant. Trolls' actions are born of and fueled by culturally sanctioned impulses -- which are just as damaging as the trolls' most disruptive behaviors. Phillips describes, for example, the relationship between trolling and sensationalist corporate media -- pointing out that for trolls, exploitation is a leisure activity; for media, it's a business strategy. She shows how trolls, "the grimacing poster children for a socially networked world," align with social media. And she documents how trolls, in addition to parroting media tropes, also offer a grotesque pantomime of dominant cultural tropes, including gendered notions of dominance and success and an ideology of entitlement. We don't just have a trolling problem, Phillips argues; we have a culture problem. This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things isn't only about trolls; it's about a culture in which trolls thrive.
Author: Whitney Phillips
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2018-03-15
This book explores the weird and mean and in-between that characterize everyday expression online, from absurdist photoshops to antagonistic Twitter hashtags to deceptive identity play. Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner focus especially on the ambivalence of this expression: the fact that it is too unwieldy, too variable across cases, to be essentialized as old or new, vernacular or institutional, generative or destructive. Online expression is, instead, all of the above. This ambivalence, the authors argue, hinges on available digital tools. That said, there is nothing unexpected or surprising about even the strangest online behavior. Ours is a brave new world, and there is nothing new under the sun – a point necessary to understanding not just that online spaces are rife with oddity, mischief, and antagonism, but why these behaviors matter. The Ambivalent Internet is essential reading for students and scholars of digital media and related fields across the humanities, as well as anyone interested in mediated culture and expression.
Author: Joseph M. Reagle
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2015-05-01
Online comment can be informative or misleading, entertaining or maddening. Haters and manipulators often seem to monopolize the conversation. Some comments are off-topic, or even topic-less. In this book, Joseph Reagle urges us to read the comments. Conversations "on the bottom half of the Internet," he argues, can tell us much about human nature and social behavior.Reagle visits communities of Amazon reviewers, fan fiction authors, online learners, scammers, freethinkers, and mean kids. He shows how comment can inform us (through reviews), improve us (through feedback), manipulate us (through fakery), alienate us (through hate), shape us (through social comparison), and perplex us. He finds pre-Internet historical antecedents of online comment in Michelin stars, professional criticism, and the wisdom of crowds. He discusses the techniques of online fakery (distinguishing makers, fakers, and takers), describes the emotional work of receiving and giving feedback, and examines the culture of trolls and haters, bullying, and misogyny. He considers the way comment -- a nonstop stream of social quantification and ranking -- affects our self-esteem and well-being. And he examines how comment is puzzling -- short and asynchronous, these messages can be slap-dash, confusing, amusing, revealing, and weird, shedding context in their passage through the Internet, prompting readers to comment in turn, "WTF?!?"
Author: Pnina Fichman
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Release Date: 2016-04-11
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Online trolling and other deviant behaviors have always affected online communities. As online trolling becomes widely spread, myriad questions are raised, including: Who is a troll and why do trolls troll? What are the enabling factors of online trolling? How do members and administrators of online communities detect, interpret, and react to trolling? How can online trolling be handled effectively? What is the impact of the socio-cultural and technological environments on online trolling? What motivates trolling? The book answers these questions and includes the following focuses: Hard-core trolls and light trolls Gender, trolling, and anti-social behavior online Perception of trolling Collaborative trolling Ideological trolls Trolling around the globe
Author: Rossalyn Warren
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2015-10-22
Genre: Social Science
A feminist campaigner is sent death threats online at a rate of over fifty-per-hour. A woman who shares on social media her experience of rape, so that others might feel brave enough to speak out, is bombarded with abusive messages. More than a hundred female celebrities have their personal nude photographs stolen and published by hackers. The victims of these stories of trolling and internet crimes have just one thing in common: their gender. Most of us use the internet every day, but we rarely stop and think about the way we are received there and whether the treatment of women online differs from the treatment of men. As a Buzzfeed journalist, Rossalyn Warren has first-hand experience of the sexism and misogyny targeted at women online – the insults about their appearance, the rape threats, and in some instances even stalking. In Targeted and Trolled, Warren exposes the true extent of the global problem. Informative, empowering and inspiring, this book is both a shocking revelation of the scale of the problem and a message of hope about how men and women are working together to fight back against the trolls.
A revealing and gripping investigation into how social media platforms police what we post online—and the large societal impact of these decisions Most users want their Twitter feed, Facebook page, and YouTube comments to be free of harassment and porn. Whether faced with “fake news” or livestreamed violence, “content moderators”—who censor or promote user†‘posted content—have never been more important. This is especially true when the tools that social media platforms use to curb trolling, ban hate speech, and censor pornography can also silence the speech you need to hear. In this revealing and nuanced exploration, award†‘winning sociologist and cultural observer Tarleton Gillespie provides an overview of current social media practices and explains the underlying rationales for how, when, and why these policies are enforced. In doing so, Gillespie highlights that content moderation receives too little public scrutiny even as it is shapes social norms and creates consequences for public discourse, cultural production, and the fabric of society. Based on interviews with content moderators, creators, and consumers, this accessible, timely book is a must†‘read for anyone who’s ever clicked “like” or “retweet.”
Author: Karla Mantilla
Release Date: 2015-08-31
Genre: Social Science
Gendertrolling arises out of the same misogyny that fuels other "real life" forms of harassment and abuse of women. This book explains this phenomenon, the way it can impact women's lives, and how it can be stopped. • Combines the phenomenon of trolling and keen feminist insight to create a unique perspective on the treatment of women, male/female interaction, and online user interaction • Demonstrates what online rape and death threats have in common with street harassment, sexual harassment in the workplace, domestic violence, and date rape, showing the serious, harmful nature of this practice • Discusses what can be done to change laws and Internet policies to increase women's freedom of speech and safety online
Author: Jim A. Kuypers
Publisher: Lexington Books
Release Date: 2018-03-14
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
This book examines perhaps the most contentious election in modern US history—the 2016 United States presidential election. It is unique in its discussion of a wide range of issues affecting the news media coverage of the election, coming from an equally diverse range of intellectual perspectives including the rhetorical, social-scientific, communication studies, and media studies. With eleven chapters grounded in hard evidence and communication theory, The 2016 American Presidential Campaign and the News: Implications for American Democracy and the Republic examines significant topics such as fake news, media construction of Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s campaign personalities, media bias, visual meme depictions of the candidates, identity politics in the news, Trump’s Twitter use, entertainment news, and social media as news. These chapters individually and collectively provide a direct commentary on the implications of the 2016 campaign news coverage for the future of the American Republic and political communication in the media.
Author: Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2016-05-27
Genre: Technology & Engineering
New media -- we are told -- exist at the bleeding edge of obsolescence. We thus forever try to catch up, updating to remain the same. Meanwhile, analytic, creative, and commercial efforts focus exclusively on the next big thing: figuring out what will spread and who will spread it the fastest. But what do we miss in this constant push to the future? In Updating to Remain the Same, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun suggests another approach, arguing that our media matter most when they seem not to matter at all -- when they have moved from "new" to habitual. Smart phones, for example, no longer amaze, but they increasingly structure and monitor our lives. Through habits, Chun says, new media become embedded in our lives -- indeed, we become our machines: we stream, update, capture, upload, link, save, trash, and troll. Chun links habits to the rise of networks as the defining concept of our era. Networks have been central to the emergence of neoliberalism, replacing "society" with groupings of individuals and connectable "YOUS." (For isn't "new media" actually "NYOU media"?) Habit is central to the inversion of privacy and publicity that drives neoliberalism and networks. Why do we view our networked devices as "personal" when they are so chatty and promiscuous? What would happen, Chun asks, if, rather than pushing for privacy that is no privacy, we demanded public rights -- the right to be exposed, to take risks and to be in public and not be attacked?
Author: Robert W. Gehl
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2018-07-20
An exploration of the Dark Web—websites accessible only with special routing software—that examines the history of three anonymizing networks, Freenet, Tor, and I2P.The term “Dark Web” conjures up drug markets, unregulated gun sales, stolen credit cards. But, as Robert Gehl points out in Weaving the Dark Web, for each of these illegitimate uses, there are other, legitimate ones: the New York Times's anonymous whistleblowing system, for example, and the use of encryption by political dissidents. Defining the Dark Web straightforwardly as websites that can be accessed only with special routing software, and noting the frequent use of “legitimate” and its variations by users, journalists, and law enforcement to describe Dark Web practices (judging them “legit” or “sh!t”), Gehl uses the concept of legitimacy as a window into the Dark Web. He does so by examining the history of three Dark Web systems: Freenet, Tor, and I2P.Gehl presents three distinct meanings of legitimate: legitimate force, or the state's claim to a monopoly on violence; organizational propriety; and authenticity. He explores how Freenet, Tor, and I2P grappled with these different meanings, and then discusses each form of legitimacy in detail by examining Dark Web markets, search engines, and social networking sites. Finally, taking a broader view of the Dark Web, Gehl argues for the value of anonymous political speech in a time of ubiquitous surveillance. If we shut down the Dark Web, he argues, we lose a valuable channel for dissent.
Author: Danielle Keats Citron
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2014-09-22
The author examines the controversies surrounding cyber-harassment, arguing that it should be considered a matter for civil rights law and that social norms of decency and civility must be leveraged to stop it.
Author: Gabriella Coleman
Publisher: Verso Books
Release Date: 2014-11-04
Genre: Political Science
Here is the ultimate book on the worldwide movement of hackers, pranksters, and activists that operates under the non-name Anonymous, by the writer the Huffington Post says “knows all of Anonymous’ deepest, darkest secrets.” Half a dozen years ago, anthropologist Gabriella Coleman set out to study the rise of this global phenomenon just as some of its members were turning to political protest and dangerous disruption (before Anonymous shot to fame as a key player in the battles over WikiLeaks, the Arab Spring, and Occupy Wall Street). She ended up becoming so closely connected to Anonymous that the tricky story of her inside–outside status as Anon confidante, interpreter, and erstwhile mouthpiece forms one of the themes of this witty and entirely engrossing book. The narrative brims with details unearthed from within a notoriously mysterious subculture, whose semi-legendary tricksters—such as Topiary, tflow, Anachaos, and Sabu—emerge as complex, diverse, politically and culturally sophisticated people. Propelled by years of chats and encounters with a multitude of hackers, including imprisoned activist Jeremy Hammond and the double agent who helped put him away, Hector Monsegur, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy is filled with insights into the meaning of digital activism and little understood facets of culture in the Internet age, including the history of “trolling,” the ethics and metaphysics of hacking, and the origins and manifold meanings of “the lulz.” From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Derek Johnson
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2013-03-22
Genre: Social Science
"Johnson astutely reveals that franchises are not Borg-like assimilation machines, but, rather, complicated ecosystems within which creative workers strive to create compelling 'shared worlds.' This finely researched, breakthrough book is a must-read for anyone seeking a sophisticated understanding of the contemporary media industry." —Heather Hendershot, author of What's Fair on the Air?: Cold War Right-Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest While immediately recognizable throughout the U.S. and many other countries, media mainstays like X-Men, Star Trek, and Transformers achieved such familiarity through constant reincarnation. In each case, the initial success of a single product led to a long-term embrace of media franchising—a dynamic process in which media workers from different industrial positions shared in and reproduced familiar cultureacross television, film, comics, games, and merchandising. In Media Franchising, Derek Johnson examines the corporate culture behind these production practices, as well as the collaborative and creative efforts involved in conceiving, sustaining, and sharing intellectual properties in media work worlds. Challenging connotations of homogeneity, Johnson shows how the cultural and industrial logic of franchising has encouraged media industries to reimagine creativity as an opportunity for exchange among producers, licensees, and evenconsumers. Drawing on case studies and interviews with media producers, he reveals the meaningful identities, cultural hierarchies, and struggles for distinction that accompany collaboration within these production networks. Media Franchising provides a nuanced portrait of the collaborative cultural production embedded in both the media industries and our own daily lives.
Author: Anthony Chemero
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2011-08-19
While philosophers of mind have been arguing over the status of mental representations in cognitive science, cognitive scientists have been quietly engaged in studying perception, action, and cognition without explaining them in terms of mental representation. In this book, Anthony Chemero describes this nonrepresentational approach (which he terms radical embodied cognitive science), puts it in historical and conceptual context, and applies it to traditional problems in the philosophy of mind. Radical embodied cognitive science is a direct descendant of the American naturalist psychology of William James and John Dewey, and follows them in viewing perception and cognition to be understandable only in terms of action in the environment. Chemero argues that cognition should be described in terms of agent-environment dynamics rather than in terms of computation and representation. After outlining this orientation to cognition, Chemero proposes a methodology: dynamical systems theory, which would explain things dynamically and without reference to representation. He also advances a background theory: Gibsonian ecological psychology, "shored up" and clarified. Chemero then looks at some traditional philosophical problems (reductionism, epistemological skepticism, metaphysical realism, consciousness) through the lens of radical embodied cognitive science and concludes that the comparative ease with which it resolves these problems, combined with its empirical promise, makes this approach to cognitive science a rewarding one. "Jerry Fodor is my favorite philosopher," Chemero writes in his preface, adding, "I think that Jerry Fodor is wrong about nearly everything." With this book, Chemero explains nonrepresentational, dynamical, ecological cognitive science as clearly and as rigorously as Jerry Fodor explained computational cognitive science in his classic work The Language of Thought.