Not to determine what it might have meant at the time

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not to determine what it might have meant at the time the novels where first published, or what it might mean in the future, but to discover what it can mean for us now. The four cultural representations by Egan, Gibson, Fincher and Jonze are used as counter-voices against the mainly dystopian view of The Circle and Men, Women and Children. The novels and films are different takes on the mainly negative view that exists in the media. This thesis then take the approach that cultural representations do not necessarily reflect the actual human and social network relations, but act as grounds where alternative takes can be developed and displayed. In order to analyze these aspects in American fiction, this thesis foregrounds theoretical concepts by Marshall McLuhan, Bruno Latour, N. Katherine Hayles and Alexander Galloway, which will be elaborated upon in the next chapter. McLuhan is helpful for understanding social media within the larger context of Media Studies, and sheds light on how social media is at once a private but also public medium. With his Actor-Network-Theory, Latour focuses on relations between people and non-human objects. ANT helps us understand that there is no hierarchical order between people and a social network site. Hayles has extensively researched interrelations between human and intelligent machine throughout the last fifteen years. The concept of the posthuman, explored by Hayles, is a productive framework of looking at the interactions of people and social media. Alexander Galloway has looked at how control works in network. His theories are important for understanding how power is created within a decentralized networked world.
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7 Defining Social Media It is important to demarcate the phenomenon of social media, since many websites in the Web 2.0 era revolve around user-input and sharing. danah boyd, scholar on social media at Harvard and NYU, defines these specific sites as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site. (211) boyd stresses that the term ‘social networking sites’ is often interchanged with ‘social network sites’, and she clarifies the subtle but important difference: ‘Networking’ emphasizes relationship initiation, often between strangers, while ‘network’ implies an established system of connections. boyd argues that networking is certainly possible through the sites she labels social media, but argues that this is not their primary practice. Social network sites are mostly about displaying the already established connections through a 'friends' list. What makes social network sites unique is not that they allow individuals to meet strangers, but rather that they enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks. This can result in connections between
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