Future modes

How ‘new’ new media transforms communicative meaning and negotiates relationships

Authored by: Astrid Ensslin

The Routledge Handbook of Language and Media

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138014176
eBook ISBN: 9781315673134
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter aims to outline a range of current and evolving media developments with a view to arriving at a tentative understanding of some of the concerns facing semioticians, media linguists, and communication scholars in the immediate to mid-term future. Our mediated landscapes are transforming at an ever faster pace, and so are the roles filled by different media, their users and producers. In an age of superdiversity pertaining to both cultural and media ecologies (Vertovek 2007), “digital media is much more than [containers of cultural products], as its capacity to store cultural productions is complemented by its capacity to facilitate deterritorialised interaction, individualised self-presentation, and large-scale participation in cultural and political discourses” (Androutsopoulos and Juffermans 2014: 1). We live in a quasi-borderless “update culture” (Murthy 2013) promoted and operationalized by the blogosphere, Twitterverse, and other social media that are increasingly gamifying core aspects of everyday life and work: we micro-manage our own cultural and social capital by accumulating statistically measurable rewards, such as Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘friends,’ Twitter ‘favorites’ and ‘followers,’ as well as – in the academic sphere – personalized research scores dictated by internal rule systems underlying the likes of ResearchGate, Academia, and Google Scholar; and depending on how attached we feel to our online self-management tools, they determine to a considerable extent our individual levels of self-esteem, as well as our sense of achievement and significance in the world.

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