Simon Barrow

Twitter and Facebook revolutions in times of crisis?

By Simon Barrow
January 13, 2014

A new textbook from Christian Fuchs, Social Media: A Critical Introduction, provides a broad introduction to how social media have changed society and how society’s power structures shape social media.

The book presents case studies relating to some of the most platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Wikipedia and WikiLeaks.

Dr Fuchs, who is Professor of Social Media at the University of Westminster in London, commented: “The book shows that economic and political power structures that define the way we live in a situation of deep crisis manifest themselves on social media.

"This development is evidenced by a broad range of phenomena, such as Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s Prism project of Internet surveillance, discussions about the role of social media in the Arab spring, anti-austerity protests or the London riots; concerns about Google and Facebook’s privacy policies, terms of use and data processing strategies; consumer protectionists’ worries about targeted advertising, global Internet companies’ tax avoidance strategies, the rise of new forms of unpaid, crowdsourced labour on the Internet, the strong financialisation of social media companies, Internet whistleblowing in the times of WikiLeaks, discussions about copyrights in light of the Pirate Bay, or new forms of hacktivism such as Anonymous”.

Social Media: A Critical Introduction is an important critical guide for understanding social media. It lays bare the structures and power relations at the heart of our media landscape.

The book’s launch by Sage Publishing stands in the context of Christian Fuchs’ appointment to a new professorship of social media at the University of Westminster, which has launched the Centre for Social Media Research and a new Masters programme in Social Media.

Professor Fuchs will give his professorial inauguration lecture, entitled “Social Media and the Public Sphere”, on 19 February 2014 at the University of Westminster.

The lecture will discuss how social media relate to the changes of the relationship between the public and the private that we are experiencing today and how these developments are shaped by and shape power structures.

While coming from a different perspective, this new book from Professor Fuchs synchs well with Digital Revolutions: Activism in the Internet Age (New Internationalist, 2013) by Ekklesia associate Symon Hill, and the collection Religion and the News, edited by Prof Jolyon Mitchell and Dr Owen Gower (Ashgate, 2012), which includes a chapter by Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow entitled 'Religion and new media: changing the story'.

* The Centre for Social Media Research -

* MA in Social Media -

* Social Media: A Critical Introduction - book information:

* Digital Revolutions: Activism in the Internet Age -

* Religion and the News -


© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.