Social Media Freaks

Digital Identity in the Network Society

Dustin Kidd

First Edition • February 14, 2017 • 288 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813350660 • $36.00 USD$46.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813350677 • $25.99 USD$33.99 CAN

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Social media has been transforming American and global cultural life for over a decade. It has flattened the divide between producer and audience found in other forms of culture while also generating massive amounts of revenue for the corporations involved. At the core of Social Media Freaks is the question: Does social media reproduce inequalities or is it a tool for subverting them?

Social Media Freaks presents a virtual ethnography of social media, focusing on issues of identity and inequality along five dimensions: race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability. It presents original and secondary findings, while also utilizing social theory to explain the dynamics of social media as it relates to the Black Lives Matter movement, #Gamergate, memes, and more. It teaches readers how to engage social media as a tool for social activism while also examining the limits of social media’s value in the quest for social change.

Dustin Kidd is Associate Professor of Sociology at Temple University in Philadelphia. Kidd is the author of two previous books: Legislating Creativity: The Intersections of Art and Politics and Pop Culture Freaks: Identity, Mass Media, and Society. He has also published articles and essays in The Hedgehog Review, Afterimage, Research in Political Sociology, The Journal of Popular Culture, Contexts, Sociology Compass, and The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society.


1. Social Media, Art, and the Network Society
2. The Social Structure of Social Media
3. Leave Britney Alone: Sexuality Perspectives on Social Media
4. Disabling a Meme: Disability Perspectives on Social Media
5. GamerGate: Gender Perspectives on Social Media
6. Occupy Wall Street: Class Perspectives on Social Media
7. Black Lives Matter: Racial Perspectives on Social Media
8. Social Media Toolbox
9. Conclusion: A Social Media Revolution?

Appendix: Digital Media Literacy

Social Media Freaks offers a critical, accessible investigation of some of the most important social movements of our time, including Occupy and Black Lives Matter, that will animate new conversations about the power and consequences of social media. . . . Students will walk away from this book with a new understanding of the social forces at play on our various digital screens and an ability to critically engage the diversity of social media platforms that demand our attention.” —Patrick Grzanka, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

“A much needed approach to social media.” —Janet Johnson, University of Texas at Dallas

“The detailed analysis of the leadership and corporate structures of Facebook, Twitter, etc … is especially clear and useful. The discussion of sexuality and social media … is superb and much needed; especially valuable is the author’s analysis of social media as tools for research into human sexual attitudes and behavior.” —Paul Levinson, Fordham University

“Students can easily relate to the cases discussed in the book, ranging from the Gamergate controversy to Black Lives Matter. Highly recommended.” —Choice

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