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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the Twitterverse
One word of caution, there is a glut of `how to' or `getting started' books about Twitter today. This is not one of them. It is a serious academic treatise on the impact of Twitter today, socially, politically and culturally. The morality of Tweeting is touched on here and there, but the writer quite rightly points out that Twitter is not morally good or bad in itself,...
Published 12 months ago by Adam

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected.
I ordered this book because I wanted to know about Twitter - how to use it, advantages and pitfalls, a general introduction. But this book is a tough academic book in media studies, relating Twitter to other social media and making philosophical points, etc. It would no doubt be great for anyone doing a university course in media studies, but not what I wanted or needed!
Published 12 months ago by John Rowan


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the Twitterverse, 14 July 2013
By 
Adam "Say something about yourself!" (Dunton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age (DMS - Digital Media and Society) (Paperback)
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One word of caution, there is a glut of `how to' or `getting started' books about Twitter today. This is not one of them. It is a serious academic treatise on the impact of Twitter today, socially, politically and culturally. The morality of Tweeting is touched on here and there, but the writer quite rightly points out that Twitter is not morally good or bad in itself, that value is defined by the content of Tweets themselves.
More ise said on its efficacy and impact as a communication tool. Is it dumbing down communication, speeding everything up in its terse 140 character, spontaneous and constant updating way until we have whirling mulch that does not give time for analysis or thought? Or is it a powerful, democratising, globalising, force for good, building new enfranchising networks, and empowering the individual to seek out answers and information for themselves?
With such issues the writer avoids a binary either / or approach, taking a more nuanced and complex line. The book begins defining Twitter as a social networking and communication tool, explaining what it means to be a micro-blogging tool, how it fits in with and feeds the `update' culture, allowing a means that individuals can record, understand and validate their experiences, whilst simultaneously a networking tool that breaks out of the private sphere of Facebook to potentially an unknowingly wide audience, some of which may be known family and friends, some not.
In the next Chapter, Twitter is contextualised in communications history. In this way Dhiraj Murthy debunks the notion that Twitter is a nefarious dumbing down of communication unprecedented in history. Rather it is following an evolutionary line that took localised oral communication that was revolutionised and democratised by the printing press, which many years down the line was revolutionised and made more instantaneous by the Telegram, and so on. It is shown that fast communication across vast distances is not new, neither is the ability to see other peoples communications. Witness the public `Notificator' of 1935 (p18). The writer also provides a check to those who would make grand claims that Twitter is an unprecedented globaliser, opening up the global village like never before. Such claims should not ignore that vast swathes of the world do not have access to the technology needed to function on Twitter, or access to a very limited version of it. Hence some villages are more global than others.
The next chapter, `Theorising Twitter,' explores background academic theory to some of the ideas on communication and relating that Twitter opens up. Such aspects as the democratising nature of Twitter, how it creates `tele-presence,' i.e. the feeling that communication is more direct and immediate than it actually is, how it creates and coheres already congruent groups (`homophily,'), and provides the means to transcend them.
Next, we move on to what was for me the most interesting central section of the book, which builds on and applies some of the ideas already explored. The impact and use of Twitter is explored during and after disasters, as a tool of political activism, and as a tool for health. In all of these a very balanced approach is taken, refuting sweeping claims. During disasters it is explored how Twitter gives a mean for immediate reportage by citizens affected, and how they can inform world media long before historically it would have arrived at the scene. Also, how Twitter users, including relief agencies, have helped co-ordinate relief. The writer heavily qualifies the idea of citizen journalism both here and in the chapter on activism. Generally speaking, individuals on the ground do get tweets out that are taken up by the wider media and that can be the first reportage available. However, it is still the national media and the wider internet that most go to source their news on such disasters, and it is till the national media that produces the most read and re-tweeted tweets.
In terms of political activism, again the writer gives some convincing checks and qualifications to the idea that e.g. the Arab Spring was a Twitter revolution. He argues that most of the affected states in these uprising had comparatively minimal use of Twitter, and that the most consulted Western sources were still established global media outlets. There were those who took a spokesperson role on Twitter or even claimed to be co-ordinating action, but often these could be argued to be exaggerating their claims whilst tweeting from a safer Western sanctuary. This is not to say that Twitter did not play an important part, but it must not be sensationalised or taken out of context. It must not be forgotten that what got the feet on the streets was not largely Twitter, but years of government oppression and brutality. Similarly, those in e.g. Cairo and Tehran did not need Twitter to tell them that a huge uprising was in progress. The crowds, standstill traffic and frantic word on the street would do that. Added to this are the ways Twitter can be used to actively disseminate erroneous or misleading information that can do active harm to either disaster relief or those fleeing from oppressive and brutalising authorities. Still, the writer argues, in the case of both Disasters and activism, new networks have been opened up, awareness has been raised, and a powerful and growing communication tool has hinted at its potential.
With health, the writer explores how the update culture has made public what was formerly intensely personal, e.g. updates on life changing health issues such as cancer, as a means to diarise and record what is going on, whilst networking for support and even news on treatment or clinical trials. Conversely, medical authorities use Twitter to reach the public on health awareness issues, as well as looking for participants for new treatments and trials. Again the shadow side of this is explored, such as a confusion of the doctor/patient relationship, and the dissemination of bad and unqualified medical ideas by non-practitioners. But the writer is clear that in the world of health, the opening up of new support networks has been and is very powerful. The spontaneous and portable update nature of Twitter also means that people will quickly give frank updates on their health e.g from GP reception rooms on smart phones in a way they would not do if they had to go home and boot up their pc.
Twitter, then, is a powerful communication tool that with its spontaneous updates, mixture of profound and banal, and global reach, allows the growth of new communication, support and activist networks. At the same time Twitter can be seen as a step on a clear line in our history of communication, and its potential to harm, or bless, humankind must not be exaggerated.
This is a sociological research project that deals with some complex and weighty ideas that may frustrate readers outside of the academic circle, specifically on the chapter on theorising Twitter. It also makes certain points again and again and uses pages of unnecessary exposition at times to underline e.g. how Twitter is a mixture of both the banal and profound.
The style though remains clear and accessible; it gives a heady brew of ideas and perspectives, has a sensible balanced approach that avoids binary theorising and is a good read for anyone who wants to look deeply and intelligently at the world of hash-tags and re-tweets.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 16 April 2013
By 
Wendy Jones "wjones7423" (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age (DMS - Digital Media and Society) (Paperback)
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I am completely fascinated by and love social media and therefore have read a number of books on the subject. THis book is a fascinating if rather scholarly text. However, in all fairness to the author it is written for academia. As well as looking at the world of politics and twitter Murthy also gives an historical overview, Rather than trying to be all things to all men he focuses on several key areas. He starts by setting Twitter into context for the age and then looks at its role in Journalism, Health, Activism and Disasters. Reference is made to some key areas and papers to support the discussion.

I liked this book and would highly recommend it. So why have I given it 4 stars rather than 5. The only reason is that it is specifically focused on academia rather than the general public so is therefore a niche publication.
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2.0 out of 5 stars An an attempted academic interpretation Twitter as a medium, 14 Aug 2013
By 
Arynth (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age (DMS - Digital Media and Society) (Paperback)
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I'm not sure I agree that this work is 'fascinating' or even 'interesting'. It's structured as a series of essays, written in academic style looking at data primarily from 2010 and 2011 and interpreting how Twitter is used and the results of its use (eg 'forming communities'). This, right from the getgo, makes it incredibly dated as user behaviour on the platform and available data changes and increases. I'm not entirely sure the data sets used are that great to begin with. The language employed is often quite basic, for example:

'"I woke in the earthquake now" - a Japanese Twitter user.

As the above Tweet illustrates, some users Tweet during a natural disaster'

It's language and conclusions like that that makes this an unnecessary (and almost insulting) slog to read.

If you're looking at the best ways you can use Twitter, this is not for you. If you are interested in current use case studies of recent events and disasters, this is not for you. If you're looking at some basic social interpretations of Twitter use, then you might find some interest in this.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected., 20 July 2013
By 
John Rowan (London England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age (DMS - Digital Media and Society) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I ordered this book because I wanted to know about Twitter - how to use it, advantages and pitfalls, a general introduction. But this book is a tough academic book in media studies, relating Twitter to other social media and making philosophical points, etc. It would no doubt be great for anyone doing a university course in media studies, but not what I wanted or needed!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Depends what you are looking for..., 16 July 2013
By 
taylzo "dvd addict / bookworm" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age (DMS - Digital Media and Society) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I found this book to be intriguing to a certain level, at which I then just got a bit fed up. I use Facebook a lot, not so much Twitter, but have recently started using it more for business purposes. I was interested to get a bit more in depth knowledge on how to best use it to its potential, and I do think it gave me a bit of an insight. However, it is definitely an academic book which isn't so much what I was looking for, so I guess your opinion on this book is really going to depend on the reason you want to read about twitter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable and relevant, 17 May 2013
By 
Mr. A. C. Thorne (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age (DMS - Digital Media and Society) (Paperback)
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If you are interested in something more than the current spate of books taking the path of straight forward admiration of the social media, then this book which seeks it would seem to contextulaise the place of Twitter as a one exeample of the medium.
The author presents a reasonably concise account of the rise of Twitter, and goes on to account for its success and the particularity of its use in making news hounds of anyone in the right palce at the right time. In this context he offers various of the accounts of news stories such as the tale of Janis Krums, the Florida based businessman who happened to be on site when the U.S. Airways flight 1549 came down in the Hudson river in 2009; the incident transfromed the man from businessman into citizen news reporter and rescue worker, whilst simultaneously recording the event photographically and then uploading the image to Twitter.
Murthy goes on to argue the view that we have, rather than become isolated by this ever present phenomenon, found oursleves making more incidental and in the moment links with diverse and wide ranging groups of not necessarily like minded people, on a very public forum.
I enjoyed this book and feel that it has a lot to offer anyone interested in contemporary developments in cultural phenomena.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Hard to Read Due to (Constant) (Brackets), 16 May 2013
By 
Miss M. L. English "Mary English" (Bath, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age (DMS - Digital Media and Society) (Paperback)
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I really, really struggled with this book.

As an avid twitter user, I was hoping for something that would at least stretch my brain.

All it sadly did was make me cross about the constant (putting things into brackets) which completely broke up (my reading experience)

I can (safely say) I have never read a book (that has so many) or (so much) bracketing as source of referencing. Put the references at the end of the chapter or at least at the bottom of the page!!! It RUINS the reading experience!!!

Sigh:(

Because of this annoying editing I had to abandon the book at chapter three. I skimmed the other chapters, and dipped in and out a bit but every time I tried to recommence my reading, the (blinking) (brackets) re-appeared and drove me (away) from completion.

I apologise to the author Dhiraj for my negative review, but this is not the way to write a book. You might have extensive knowledge of your subject, but making a person stumble through your text with more than 10 sets of brackets to a (page) is a form of reading torture I don't (ever) want to experience again....(again)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Twitter, 1 Aug 2013
By 
zombielover "perpetual student" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age (DMS - Digital Media and Society) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is intriguing, but it's intrinsically dull, especially to the technological or marketing layman.

I use both Facebook and Twitter to increase my profile for marketing purposes. I was hoping for some insights but I found this to be far too academic and high-brow for casual reading.

Perhaps I misread the aim; interesting read in and on its own however not a casual pick-up and not an eye-opener in terms of Twitter and its usage.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 30 Mar 2013
By 
Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe "Cathy SL" (Reading Berks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age (DMS - Digital Media and Society) (Paperback)
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DM's Scholarly book is one of polity's excellent series "Digital Media and Society".Twitter was launched in 2006 and now carries 340 million tweets daily from 500 million users. A Twitter is limited to 140 characters and has been described as 'a short burst of inconsequential information' although this does it less than justice since at the other end of the spectrum it includes so called 'breakng news' which include emergencies such as earthquakes, and is used in organising protests and activism and is of immense value to journalists, all of which are the
subject of chapters. The main users are said to be older adults who have not used other social sites although these may be handicaped, as with other digital devices, by the small print which older people may not be
able to read.The content has been found to be 40% 'pointless babble' and 38% conversation and 6% self promition.
DM compares Twitter with previous methods of communication and attempts to construct a theory of Twitter based partly on Goffman's ideas. Our lives are being radically changed by digital communication, and this book will be essential reading for anyone trying to plumb the ramiflications of this.
Rating 5 out of 5.
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