This presentation explores global variation in the uses and consequences of social media. The project involved nine anthropologists living in eight countries in communities as varied as an English village, a factory town in China, a town on the Turkish-Syrian border, an IT complex set in villages within South India, a low income settlement in Brazil, as well as sites in Chile, Italy and Trinidad. It offers a comparative analysis on the impact of social media on politics and gender, education and commerce. Some questions we asked are what is the result of the increased emphasis on visual communication? Are we becoming more individual or more social? Why is public social media so conservative? Why does equality online fail to shift inequality offline? How did memes become the moral police of the internet?
Jolynna Sinanan is a Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communications at RMIT University. Previously, she was a Research Fellow in Anthropology at University College London with the Global Social Media Impact Study. She is the author of Social Media in Trinidad (forthcoming, UCL Press) and co-author with Daniel Miller of Webcam (2014, Polity) and Visualising Facebook (forthcoming, UCL Press).