Journal of International and Global Studies


Social media and the Internet are seen as Siamese twins. The discursive architecture of social media is so tightly coupled with the various imaginaries of the Internet that the distinct spatiality, territoriality, and relational power dynamics of each is often simplistically blurred and merged. This paper makes the case that the sociality and spatiality of social media is not only different from that of the Internet but is increasingly becoming part of our contemporary built environment in a manner that confers social media a high degree of relative autonomy in its relationship with the Internet. The paper further argues that such autonomy is fundamentally mutating social media from a site of articulation into a set of digitally mediated spaces with their own scripted and connected logic of inclusion and exclusion. The paper establishes that the integration with the built environment is foundationally linked to a suite of six inter-related technologies of wireless transmission: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), interactive and emotive display systems, electronic payment gateways, digital cartography systems, and geo-locational mapping systems and services. The paper also raises questions about our understanding of these emergent digitally mediated spaces, arguing that a limited approach of reducing social media to sites of articulation marginalizes the underlying socio-technical politics of such spaces. In conclusion, the paper makes the case that the digital augmentation of public and private spaces is creating a hybridized socio-technoscape that bridges the gap between “the epistemological realm and the practical one, between mental and social, between the space of the philosophers and the space of people who deal with material things,”2 in the process transforming the fundamental principles of democracy.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.