Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media: Abstracts [T]

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Anne Kaun, Södertörn University, Sweden

This contribution discusses temporality in the context of citizen media from two perspectives. Firstly, in terms of the temporalities of media technologies (Castells 2000; Frabetti 2015; Virilio 1986, 1995) and secondly, the temporalities of civic engagement (Barassi 2015; Keightley 2013; Postill 2013). The aim is to tease out how the temporalities of media technologies relate to the temporalities of civic engagement. Taking the perspective of the social shaping of technology (Wajcman 2015), the entry presents key theoretical discussions and empirical findings on the relationship between temporal regimes of media technologies and their consequences for civic agency. While acknowledging the crucial role of technology for our perception of time, the entry questions technological determinism and digital exceptionalism which overemphasize the role of media technologies for political engagement (Marwick 2013). It proposes instead a dialectical approach towards media technologies’ temporality. This entails understanding technology as a cultural form as proposed by Raymond Williams (1974): as expressions of larger social and political structures rather than being independent of them. Hence it is important to consider the cultural, political, economic and social configuration within which certain media technologies, including civic media, emerge.


Barassi, V. (2015) ‘Social Media, Immediacy and the Time for Democracy: Critical reflections on social media as ‘temporalizing practices’, in L. Dencik and O. Leistert (eds) Critical Perspectives on Social Media and Protest: Between control and emancipation, London and New York: Rowman and Littlefield International,pp. 73-90.

Castells, M. (2000) The Rise of the Network Society, Oxford and Malden: Blackwell Publishers.

Frabetti, F. (2015) Software Theory, London: Rowman and Littlefield International.

Keightley, E. (2013) ‘From Immediacy to Intermediacy: The mediation of lived time’, Time & Society 22(1): 55-75.

Marwick, A. (2013) Status Update: Celebrity, publicity, and branding in the social media age, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Postill, J. (2013) The Multilinearity of Protest: uUderstanding new social movements through their events, trends and routines. Available at

Virilio, P. (1986) Speed and Politics. An Essay on Dromology, New York: Semiotext(e).

Virilio, P. (1995) ‘Speed and Information: Cyberspace Alarm!’, CTheory. Available at

Wajcman, J. (2015) Pressed for Time. The acceleration of life in digital capitalism, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Williams, R. (1974) Television. Technology and Cultural Form, New York: Schocken Books.


Twitter and Hashtags

Neil Salder, Queen’s University Belfast, UK

This entry is divided into two parts, the first focusing on Twitter and the second on hashtags. The first section begins with an overview of Twitter’s defining characteristics as a social networking site before moving to a consideration of communication practices on Twitter. Two key factors shaping communication on the site are examined: Twitter’s technical affordances, and cultural norms. This is followed by a discussion of the extent to which Twitter has democratized communication while also, in other respects, replicating and reproducing offline hierarchies. The final part of the first section explores the relationship and interactions between citizens and corporations, and citizens and states on the site, through a consideration of digital labour and the commodification of communication, and Twitter’s potential as an organizational tool for oppositional movements and method of surveillance for repressive states. The second section begins with a brief definition of hashtags, before examining the main uses to which hashtags have been put, on and off Twitter. These include: as markers in folksonomies; a factor facilitating searchable talk; a tool for connective storytelling; a means to mark identity and affiliation; and as rhetorical devices.


Bruns, A. (2011) News produsage in a pro-am mediasphere: Why citizen journalism matters, in Meikle, G. and G. Redden (eds) News online : Transformations and vontinuities, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 132-147.

Fuchs, C. (2015) Culture and economy in the age of social media, New York & London: Routledge.

Gerbaudo, P. (2012) Tweets and the streets: Social media and contemporary activism. London: Pluto Press.

Highfield, T. (2016) Social media in everyday politics, Cambridge & Malden, MA: Polity Press.

Papacharissi, Z. (2015) Affective publics: Sentiment, technology and politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.