Social Media & the Self is a web-only reader centered on the online performance of identity and curated with university courses in mind. The approach taken is to treat the self on social media as suspended between authenticity and performance. The collection traces the roots of the popular demand for individual self-expression to the early twentieth century. The message, then as now, was that the best way to get ahead is to consciously cultivate an authentic persona. The task, if anything, is more onerous today, with our fingers hovering, and hesitating, over the post button.
In a nod to the theatrical context, the collection is divided into “acts,” five of them, followed by a handful of “encore” readings that speculate on the shareable future. Each of its component works already carries an open access license, or—in the case of copyrighted items—links to a web version. The collection will be updated with new material at least twice a year, in concert with the typical North American academic calendar. Social Media & the Self is edited by Jefferson Pooley.
Jefferson Pooley is a professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College.
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New materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 (CC by-nc 4.0)
Header credit: “Closed red curtain at the Coolidge Corner Theatre - portrait” by brokentrinkets is licensed under CC by 2.0
Identifiers: isbn 978-1-951399-04-7 | doi 10.32376/3f8575cb.1fc3f80a
Version 1.0, published in July 2021