Social media is at once a mass medium and a personal

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Social media is at once a mass medium and a personal medium; sharing intimate information and communicating with people in an often public space. Terja Rasmussen analyzes the characteristics of ‘personal media’ and argues that this medium favors interpersonal contact with family members,
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11 friends and others we know (2). Rasmussen explores in Personal Media and Everyday Life: A Networked Lifeworld (2014) how this type of medium, in contrast to mass media, originated from different forms of expression. The history of mass media began with Gutenberg’s mass production of holy texts, followed by newspapers, film and (live) broadcasting (4). The history of personal media began with private notebooks in Greek and Roman antiquity, followed by letter correspondence, through carriers and postal systems. It continues with telegrams, followed by telecommunication and innovations on the Internet. Personal media is not about necessarily about audiences, but about social relations in an extended space (Rasmussen 4). This ‘extended’ space is what makes the private public in social media. Referring back to the Narcissus myth, the effects of social media on its users can be intense. If a spectator of television or listener of radio is already overstimulated and experiencing aut0- amputation, what would its reaction than be on a medium that is exclusively dedicated to using its users for content? Social media is the most intense way one can experience the externalization of the self. McLuhan helps us to at once relativize the social medium but also makes visible the way the medium distinguishes itself from its predecessors. Latour ’s Hybrid Forms and Actor-Network-Theory Over the last thirty years, Bruno Latour has studied the production of knowledge in science. While his origins are in anthropology, Latour’s research on the social construction of science has influenced the history and philosophy of science and sociology. At the beginning of his career, Latour looked at relations between scientists in research institution (see Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts (1979), Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society (1987)). In 1991, Latour published his groundbreaking work We Have Never Been Modern, in which he breaks away from the classical distinction between natural substance and artificial things, and the rift between thinking human subject and the unknowable outside world. Latour shows that knowledge, interest, justice and power, heaven and earth, the global stage and the local scene, human and the nonhuman have been divided, but need to be mixed up again ( Modern 3). Latour seeks to reconstruct the ‘modern’ separation of humanity and
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12 ‘nonhumanity’ – things, objects, beasts since ‘hybrids continue to multiply’ ( Modern 13). For the author, a hybrid is something that successfully bridges the worlds modernity tries to divide.
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