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How Social Media Are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands, and Killing Traditional Media

by Rory O'Connor

Pub Date: April 15th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-87286-556-3
Publisher: City Lights

Is social media enhancing our ability to share and digest information or contributing to its attrition?

Two-time Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and journalist O’Connor (Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio, 2008, etc.) acknowledges that “the dichotomy between mainstream and digital media is rapidly disappearing.” In his lucid examination of the effects of digital technology, the author asserts that the evolution of web-based platforms and the rise of the Occupy movement has caused a marked decrease in our culture’s dependence on “traditional models of organization,” a trend defusing the formerly ironclad influences of government-regulated businesses and media franchises. An era of participatory involvement is underway, and O’Connor offers both a history and a contemporary update on this modern informational superhighway with chapters highlighting the pros and cons of Internet name-branding, the visual prowess of YouTube’s innovative “audience engagement,” Twitter’s “micro-blogging” magnetism and the flap over privacy issues at monopolistic entities like Google and Facebook. Further supporting the author’s pro-digital thesis are the voices of leading researchers and executives, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, former Facebook Director of Marketing Randi Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Though all tout their respective products, they are fully aware of the cautionary characteristics of technological progress. An obvious proponent of the online-media revolution, O’Connor pulls no punches and effectively tracks the gains and losses of the movement in clear, energetic language.

An erudite, constructive analysis.