A Sleepwalker's Guide to Social Media
A Sleepwalker's Guide to Social Media

Social media has taken a dark turn, encompassing both economic and political expropriation of the user experience. Users not only give away ownership of their community relations to big platforms, but the potential for positive change through revolutionary contagion is under threat. What was once the domain of pro-democratic movements has been annexed by the far right.

Tony Sampson focuses on the role social media plays in this somewhat abrupt capitulation to the sinister refrain of post-truth, fake news and hate speech. Positing online users as ‘sleepwalkers’, he argues that by understanding their collective behaviour we can identify the different lures that are used to capture them and which, in turn, produce their subjectivities.

Drawing on a wide range of theories, this book offers compelling ways to understand social media at a time when it is more important than ever. It is a key reference for students and scholars of media theory, digital media and social media.

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  • July 2020
  • 208 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509537402
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509537419
  • Open eBook $24.95
  • 9781509537426
Table of Contents
1 Feeling Facts and Fakes
2 On the Viral Spectra of Somnambulism
Coda Christchurch; El Paso
3 The Virality of Experience Capitalism
Segue A Dark [Viral] Refrain
4 Immunity, Community and Contagion
5 Deeper Entanglements
Outro Disrupting the Dark Refrain
About the Author
Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Media Culture and Communication at the University of East London.
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"A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media is exactly what we need in these post-truth times. Tony Sampson brilliantly and succinctly takes us beyond the impasse between hyperreality and the illusory certainties of objective truth, introducing us to the collective nonconscious and its political, social and cultural implications. Read it now!"
Patricia Clough, CUNY

"This is an essential book of dystopian media theory and an admonition of the high stakes of connectivity now and in the future."
Tero Karppi, University of Toronto

"This is a book for the age of sleep disorders and political disorders; it is a book about the reshuffling of affects and data-driven cognition. Sampson brilliantly maps the production of the dark refrains of contemporary culture from UX design to the broader context of experience capitalism and social media. A foreboding book and a joyous read."
Jussi Parikka, University of Southampton (UK) and FAMU (Prague)

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