This book examines the semiotic effects of protocols and algorithms at work in popular social media systems, bridging philosophical conversations in human-computer interaction (HCI) and information systems (IS) design with contemporary work in critical media, technology and software studies. Where most research into social media is sociological in scope, Neal Thomas shows how the underlying material-semiotic operations of social media now crucially define what it means to be social in a networked age. He proposes that we consider social media platforms as computational processes of collective individuation that produce, rather than presume, forms of subjectivity and sociality.
Table of Contents
1. On the notion of a formatted subject
2. The epistemically-formatted subject
3. The performatively-formatted subject
4. The signaletically-formatted subject
5. The allagmatically-formatted subject
Conclusion: Towards an enunciative informatics
Neal Thomas is Assistant Professor of Media and Technology Studies in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.
"This is the book on post-documentary technologies that I’ve been waiting for: an understandable, but also deep and critical explanation of the philosophical assumptions, the form and functions, and the political implications and possibilities of recent new media technologies." -Ronald E. Day, Indiana University at Bloomington
"This book proves that critical consideration of the processes of subjectivity belong in the foreground of media, technology and software studies. Vanquishing the shallow presumptions of subjecthood and identity that linger in accounts of social computing, Neal Thomas expands the philosophical space currently available for the investigation of how sociality is constituted and a post-individual subjectivity is structured by a-signifying machinic relations." -Gary Genosko, University of Ontario Institute of Technology