Social Media and Everyday Politics, the book based on my PhD and early post-doctoral research (2008-2015), was published by Polity in April 2016.
About the book
Social Media and Everyday Politics is, clearly, a book about social media and politics, but it’s not just about politicians and elections and Twitter and blogs – after all, there’s far more to both ‘social media’ and ‘politics’ than just those topics. This is my first book: it draws upon my PhD, the work I did between finishing the PhD in November 2011 and starting my VCRF in February 2015, and a whole lot more (including a tiny bit on my Honours experience in Lille, France, in 2006). The book was written between June 2014 and May 2015, with edits and revisions in July and August 2015. If you want to know what I was listening to as I wrote this, my writing soundtrack is on Spotify.
The political here is featured in a wide range of contexts: for instance, Chapter One starts with nipples, Chapter Seven finishes up with sausages, and in between there is coverage of Eurovision, puns, onions, selfies, typefaces, portmanteaux, and various commentary about Tony Abbott. Or, from the back cover:
From selfies and memes to hashtags and parodies, social media are used for mundane and personal expressions of political commentary, engagement, and participation. The coverage of politics reflects the social mediation of everyday life, where individual experiences and thoughts are documented and shared online.
In Social Media and Everyday Politics, Tim Highfield examines political talk as everyday occurrences on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Tumblr, Instagram, and more. He considers the personal and the political, the serious and the silly, and the everyday within the extraordinary, as politics arises from seemingly banal and irreverent topics. The analysis features international examples and evolving practices, from French blogs to Vine loops from Australia, via the Arab Spring, Occupy, #JeSuisCharlie, Eurovision, #BlackLivesMatter, Everyday Sexism, and #illridewithyou.
This timely book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars in media and communications, internet studies, and political science, as well as general readers keen to understand our contemporary media and political contexts
For a longer explainer, see this post I wrote for the Polity blog at the time of publication.
Chapter One: Personal / political
Chapter Two: Political rituals of social media
Chapter Three: Media politics
Chapter Four: Breaking news, scandals and crises
Chapter Five: Collective and connective action
Chapter Six: Partisan politics and politicians on social media
Chapter Seven: The everyday of elections
Conclusion: The changing face of everyday social media and everyday politics
In paperback form, the book runs 165 pages (+ references and index, for a total of 211 pages); it features two network maps, one column graph, one selfie, and one photo of a sausage. Firecatcher designed the amazing cover. You should be able to find it around 302.231 if your library uses the Dewey Decimal System.
Politics is personal and the personal is political. As new media platforms enhance our ability to express ourselves and connect with others, everyday politics are performed in public spheres interconnected by social media. Tim Highfield makes this abundantly clear in Social Media and Everyday Politics, a must read volume for those interested in how the language, the practice, and the meaning of political expression evolve in contemporary societies. His approach offers rich theoretical terms, methodological insight, and analytical rigor to our understanding of how social media reorganize political realities.
Zizi Papacharissi, University of Illinois at Chicago
This is an excellent book. It is comprehensive and up-to-date. It is a great introduction to social media in general – but especially delivers handsomely on its topic of everyday politics and social media. The range of examples and cases are terrific and well-analysed. I especially like the authorial voice; grounded, funny, lively, sharp.
Gerard Goggin, University of Sydney