LSE Review of Books (12 August 2016) (review by Hesham Shafick):
Social Media and Everyday Politics contests two contrasting approaches to social media research: the one that valorises its political significance and the other that treats it as an entirely personal space. Instead, Highfield conceptualises social media as a technological innovation that fosters interactions between personal and political lives
Choice (December 2016) – recommended (review by J. M. Keller)
Highfield discloses his biases and as such makes a much more believable showing of politics beyond election and into social movements…. Of special interest to sociology, journalism, and political science scholars, the internet studies encompassed in this book bridge the gap between these disciplines by showing the interaction among them.
This book brings a welcome addition to the growing literature on the interface between social media and political communication, approaching the topic through the prism of everyday politics and mundane media practices.
Symbolic Interaction (March 2017) (review by Rituparna Patgiri)
Throughout the book, there is a beautiful combination of both theoretical arguments and empirical examples. Highfield is successful in driving home his argument as well as its contemporary relevance… To conclude, Highfield’s book is an excellent contribution to the nascent but very important field of media studies. Keeping in mind the growing influence of social media on our lives, this is a timely read.
Political Studies Review (April 2017) (review by Rhys Crilley)
Highfield’s book takes the reader on a journey through the weird and wonderful world of social media and everyday politics, where the political significance of parody twitter accounts, onion-eating politicians and polling booth selfies (among many other social media practices) are made evidently clear… Social Media and Everyday Politics is written in a lively and engaging way. The author is as comfortable writing about collective action as he is about LOLCats, and the funny, energetic style makes Social Media and Everyday Politics a very enjoyable read. Despite the humour, Highfield doesn’t shy away from the serious issues of race, class and gender, and how they impact and in turn are impacted upon by everyday social media practices… In conclusion, Social Media and Everyday Politics succeeds in revealing how the personal is political and why this is important when we study social media and politics. This book is a great introduction to the everyday politics of social media, and the vibrant discussion of important issues makes it worth a read for students and scholars at any level.
International Journal of Communication (May 2017) (review by Erhardt Graeff)
Social Media and Everyday Politics provides an extensive look at the state of political communication theory and Internet scholarship covering social media and politics. Highfield intends the book as “a lens for examining the ways that individuals engage with political and personal issues as part of everyday social media activity, and by extension what this means beyond the social media context” (p. 11). Not only does he touch on many of the key debates and findings over the past decade to shape this lens, but he also complicates our understanding of these practices with caveats that account for gender, race, and other social and cultural categories. As an introduction to the research and theory on the topic through 2015, this book is a welcome addition to the scholar’s shelf.
Information, Communication & Society (August 2017) (review by Benjamin Bowman)
Overall, the book’s argument turns on a conceptual pivot that social media makes cyberspace ‘not a separate and isolated setting, but … part of an extended, hybrid media and political system’. Social media provides a transmission belt by which our personal thoughts, jokes and stories are linked to a shared narrative of public life via posting in online arenas and agorae. The entwining of the personal and political through social media changes both, he argues, and though the book poses more questions than it answers, the book makes an important contribution by conceptualizing social media as a liminal arena, neither to be called political nor dismissed as personal, but with a foot on both sides of the threshold.
Cultural Sociology (August 2017) (review by Alexander Halavais)
Highfield’s prose is approachable; informal to a noticeable degree and reflective of the social media he discusses. This makes the work more accessible to those who might be turned away from weightier (and too often opaque) diction. As a result it can serve as a gentle introduction for those who have not yet been exposed to cultural approaches to social interaction online, and as an outstanding map of the terrain for those coming from a variety of fields. Indeed, it would be difficult for me to imagine a better orienting text for my undergraduate courses on internet culture and politics. It fills an important gap in the existing literature and I suspect will find an eager and engaged audience.
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly (August 2017) (review by Kay O’Donnell)
To say that author Tim Highfield has written about a timely, pertinent, and relevant topic would be an understatement.