Socially-Mediated Publicness: A Call For Papers

Please distribute widely!


Special Theme Issue of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media

“Socially-Mediated Publicness”

Guest Editors:

–         Nancy Baym (University of Kansas)

–         danah boyd (Microsoft Research)

Editor: Zizi Papacharissi

Social media call into question conventional understandings of what it means to “be public,” what it means to be “in a public,” and even the meaning of “public” itself. New types of publics are emerging because of the technological affordances of social media and individuals may be more visible than ever before, whether they seek this or not. This special issue will explore these issues.

We seek scholarship from an array of theoretical and methodological perspectives that critically examines how public life is reconfigured because of or in relation to social media.  We welcome articles from diverse fields, including media studies, communication, anthropology, sociology, political theory, critical theory, etc.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

·        Processes and practices of building and living in online publics

·        How new technologies of publicness affect celebrities, artists, musicians, and other creators

·        How mediated publics challenge social, political, and economic assumptions

·        The meaning of concepts such as “audience” and “listening” in mediated public spaces

·        How counterpublics and intimate publics are reshaped by technology

·        The relationships between being public and being part of a public

·        Degrees, boundaries, and scales of technologically-mediated publicness

·        How new types of publicness reconfigure identity and race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and/or nationality

In order to be more public, this special issue of JOBEM will be published as an open-access issue.  All articles will be available online at the point of publication. The anticipated publication date for this issue is September 2012.

Manuscripts should conform to the guidelines of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media (

By December 12, 2011, you should send a title, abstract, and list of 5 potential reviewers to to help us streamline the peer review process.

Articles should be submitted no later than January 6, 2012 at: (select “Special Issue: Socially Mediated Publicness” as a manuscript type).

Coming in April 2010

Isn’t it pretty? I’ll let you know when it’s available for pre-order.

Dipping a toe in the water

I had to laugh when I saw that dear Henry Jenkins has noticed in a month off blogging (what he terms his “own personal writer’s strike“) that maybe blogging upwards of 5000 words a day is kind of, um, time consuming and so, bad news he says, he’s cutting down to only 3 posts a week.

Man I admire that guy.

Myself? In nearly a month off of blogging I’ve noticed it’s easy to fall out of the habit, but here I am again, renewed refreshed all that stuff (or not) and eager to plunge into Blogging:2008.

That said, there’ve been so many things I thought to say in the last few weeks, it’s hard to know where to start, so I’ll ease myself in by linking to David Silver’s recent post about academic reviews of the book Critical Cyberculture Studies, that he co-edited with Adrienne Massanari. He links to three reviews, all very positive. I’ve got a chapter in there about finding the quality in qualitative methods that may be sneak peak into the approach advocated in Internet Inquiry: Conversations about Method, the book I’ve co-edited with Annette Markham, which is scheduled for July release. Critical Cyberculture Studies is a very cool collection I’m happy to be part of, so it’s great to see it getting well-reviewed. From the blurb:

Taking stock of the exciting work that is being done and positing what cyberculture’s future might look like, Critical Cyberculture Studies brings together a diverse and multidisciplinary group of scholars from around the world to assess the state of the field. Opening with a historical overview of the field by its most prominent spokesperson, it goes on to highlight the interests and methodologies of a mobile and creative field, providing a much-needed how-to guide for those new to cyberstudies. The final two sections open up to explore issues of race, class, and gender and digital media’s ties to capital and commerce—from the failure of dot-coms to free software and the hacking movement.

This flagship book is a must-read for anyone interested in the dynamic and increasingly crucial study of cyberculture and new technologies.

Congratulations David and Adrienne and thanks for your work putting this collection together!

I’m becoming my own reality

Ever have the feeling you’re becoming the butt of a joke you started?

Like when you start posting about Facebook fakesters and come home from a camping weekend to find a friends request from a fictional creation? You fanfic fandom people are going to have to clue me in to the backstory on this one, because I have to confess total cluelessness. I know only what I google.

On the other hand, I’ve been watching the Swedes rush to Facebook for weeks and patiently waiting for my new(ish) musical crush to get on there so I could send him a friend request, because that’s just the kind of tramp I am. And he did! Ooh! Ah! And he accepted my friend request! Ooh! Ah!

But… now that I’ve been doing the fakester rant, I’m paranoid! Is it really him? Ok, I lie, this one I’m pretty sure is the real thing, though maybe it’s his sweetie who handles his web stuff, which is just fine too so long as she tells him some dorky professor in Kansas thinks he’s the bee’s knees.

And I have to say that even though I think the Vampires and Zombies trends on FB are very annoying, when a guy with a voice like that (free mp3 — listen to the first 17 second of that song. swoon swoon total swoon) gives me a vampire bite, it’s kind of hot. Though not hot enough to add the application.

Here’s another free ‘n’ legal mp3 of his new single, Modern Love.

[does anyone know why I can't embed radio or youtube videos in my posts? is it a wordpress thing or am i doing something wrong?]

MySpace: Where Authors Meet Fans

Over the weekend, the NYTimes had a reflective piece by author Pagan Kennedy about using MySpace to discover her fans. She talks about the usual isolation of writers from their readers and compares them to musicians:

Usually, writers don’t interact much with their readers. Even at bookstore appearances, we may not run into the hard-core fans, who often are suspicious of group activities and would rather just meet on the page. When we write, we’re alone. We stare at the computer screen, picturing our imaginary audience as we type. Mine look like this: a horde of faceless yet well-educated drones sitting in rows of acrylic chairs in an all-white lecture room that resembles one of the sets in the old TV show “Space: 1999.”

In this way, we’re the opposite of musicians, who know their audiences intimately. A drummer in an indie band might gig five nights a week. Afterward, whether he’s in Cleveland or Culpeper, he sticks around in the bar with local friends, then crashes on a sofa supplied by a fan. For bands, social networking started long before the Internet.

Then she goes into ways in which authors and fans are interacting online – playing games, reading each others’ blogs, offering advice and support. And mostly, discovering that their readers are real people:

As for me, I’m still grappling with the revelation that my readers are carrying on lives in places like Brooklyn, Oakland and Portland. Somehow I had imagined that they slept in beehive-like pods in a space station just past the moon; they awakened only when I needed them to file into the antiseptic room to hear my story. These readers, however, turn out to be just the opposite of the drones of my imagination. They sell broccoli-themed greeting cards; they carve their own rubber stamps; they are pioneering new methods of fortune-telling that involve Smarties candies. And more than a few of them have ventures of their own to promote. In fact, if you want to buy Shakespeare-themed thong underwear, I know a guy who can hook you up.

It’s hard for me to imagine that MySpace is really the best space for authors and readers to find one another, but maybe it is just on account of sheer numbers. But here we are again with the fact that the net is transforming artist/fan relationships in ways that offer new rewards for artists. It’s ironic that the internet is so often accused of depersonalizing interaction and lessening the sense of presence amongst interactants. In cases like this, there’s nothing that enhances the sense of presence as much as the internet.

And how interesting to think of rock bands as the new model for all artist-fan relationships.