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UCL Press is delighted to announce the publication of three brand new open access books 
that may be of interest to members of this list.

Download all three books free from

How the World Changed Social Media 
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How the World Changed Social Media is the first book in Why We Post, a book series that 
investigates the findings of anthropologists who each spent 15 months living in 
communities across the world. This book offers a comparative analysis summarising the 
results of the research and explores the impact of social media on politics and gender, 
education and commerce. What is the result of the increased emphasis on visual 
communication? Are we becoming more individual or more social? Why is public social 
media so conservative? Why does equality online fail to shift inequality offline? How did 
memes become the moral police of the internet?

Supported by an introduction to the project’s academic framework and theoretical terms 
that help to account for the findings, the book argues that the only way to appreciate and 
understand something as intimate and ubiquitous as social media is to be immersed in 
the lives of the people who post. Only then can we discover how people all around the 
world have already transformed social media in such unexpected ways and assess the 

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Social Media in an English Village
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Daniel Miller spent 18 months undertaking an ethnographic study with the residents of an 
English village, tracking their use of the different social media platforms. Following his 
study, he argues that a focus on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram does 
little to explain what we post on social media. Instead, the key to understanding how 
people in an English village use social media is to appreciate just how ‘English’ their usage 
has become. He introduces the ‘Goldilocks Strategy’: how villagers use social media to 
calibrate precise levels of interaction ensuring that each relationship is neither too cold 
nor too hot, but ‘just right’.

He explores the consequences of social media for groups ranging from schoolchildren 
through to the patients of a hospice, and he compares these connections to more 
traditional forms of association such as the church and the neighbourhood. Above all, 
Miller finds an extraordinary clash between new social media that bridges the private and 
the public domains, and an English sensibility that is all about keeping these two domains 
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Social Media in Southeast Turkey
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This book presents an ethnographic study of social media in Mardin, a medium-sized town 
located in the Kurdish region of Turkey. The town is inhabited mainly by Sunni Muslim 
Arabs and Kurds, and has been transformed in recent years by urbanisation, 
neoliberalism and political events.

Elisabetta Costa uses her 15 months of ethnographic research to explain why public-
facing social media is more conservative than offline life. Yet, at the same time, social 
media has opened up unprecedented possibilities for private communications between 
genders and in relationships among young people – Costa reveals new worlds of intimacy, 
love and romance. She also discovers that, when viewed from the perspective of people’s 
everyday lives, political participation on social media looks very different to how it is 
portrayed in studies of political postings separated from their original complex, and highly 
socialised, context.

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About the Why We Post

Why do we post on social media? Is it true that we are replacing face-to-face 
relationships with on-screen life? Are we becoming more narcissistic with the rise of 
selfies? Does social media create or suppress political action, destroy privacy or become 
the only way to sell something? And are these claims equally true for a factory worker in 
China and an IT professional in India? With these questions in mind, nine anthropologists 
each spent 15 months living in communities in China, Brazil, Turkey, Chile, India, 
England, Italy and Trinidad. They studied not only platforms but the content of social 
media to understand both why we post and the consequences of social media on our 
lives. Their findings indicate that social media is more than communication – it is also a 
place where we now live.  The first three titles have now been released- if you’d like us 
to notify you about forthcoming titles when the publish, sign up at 

To find out more about the Why We Post project (outputs include a MOOC, website, 
youtube channel and 11 open access books), visit


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