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Emotions, Technology, and Social Media

Emotions, Technology, and Social Media

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Emotions, Technology, and Social Media

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333 pages
3 hours
Jul 20, 2016


Emotions, Technology, and Social Media discusses the ways the social media sphere uses emotion and technology, and how each of these has become part of the digital culture. The book explores this expression within a psychological theoretical framework, addressing feelings about social media, and its role in education and knowledge generation. The second section investigates the expression of feelings within social media spaces, while subsequent sections adopt a paradigm of active audience consumption to use social media to express feelings and maintain social connectivity.

  • Discusses the significant relationships between Web 2.0 technologies and learning traits
  • Presents studies about Facebook usage and individual emotional states
  • Investigates the shared emotions in the construction of “cyberculture
  • Shows the extent to which scientists use social media in their work, and the ways in which they use the social media
  • Analyzes the consequences of the online disinhibition effect
  • Examines YouTube as a source of opinions and discussions which can be used to track the emotions evoked by videos and the emotions expressed through textual comments
  • Details how Reddit users’ media choices are emotionally useful and gratifying in the “memeplex
  • Links social interaction and the emotional life with that of digital devices and resources
Jul 20, 2016

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Emotions, Technology, and Social Media - Academic Press



In order to understand the impact of computers and other technology on humans, we also have to look at human’s impact on technology. Since the beginning of time, social tools have been used to communicate emotions. Let’s take for example, the use of the telephone, which is one of the few social tools that humans have used to communicate emotions. Another social tool would also include the use of pen and paper. The creation of pen and paper afforded the expression of emotions through social communications between family, friends, lovers, and multiple groups. In this sense, social media is not a new phenomenon, but rather has become more sophisticated in its application and delivery methods.

Prior to the social media explosion, no one would have ever expected that the Internet would have the effect it has had on the expression of emotions. Social media mobile and Internet applications and sites have mitigated the expression of emotion in many ways. All one has to do is observe Facebook, Twitter, discussion forums, and electronic mailing list postings to notice how easily individuals express their joy, frustrations, anxiety, and the like.

Early on, when the Internet was first available to the public, emotional expressions were present, but did not contain as much expression of emotions because of limitations due to a lack of understanding of the tools. To understand this process, it is important to briefly discuss the evolution of various forms of social media.

Very early on, when the Internet became available to the public at the end of the 1980s, electronic mailing lists emerged as a way to engage individuals and groups socially. Although graphics were limited and emoticons did not exist for electronic mailing lists, many individuals expressed their frustrations and joy while engaging in intellectual discussions. For example, AFRO-AM, from 1995 and beyond, used their electronic mailing list to communicate with professionals and other community members for discussing race matters and the African American experience, which often led to emotional expressions. Another example of a subject matter electronic mailing list that emerged in the early 1990s was The Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition (LCHC) (developed as a lab in 1978), which focused on human activity with an emphasis on culture, human nature, and social inequality. On the LCHC, faculty and graduate students often engaged in emotional debates around theoretical frameworks and methods. Regardless of the purpose of the aforementioned electronic mailing lists, what remains core to electronic mailing lists, emails, and social media sites is the desire to communicate socially.

There was so much information and discussions passing through emails and electronic mailing lists in the mid-1990s, that some people found it difficult to keep up. In the mid-1990s, many of the electronic mailing list subscriptions were comprised of faculty and graduate students at academic institutions who were interested in having intellectual discussions that focused on specific topics. These electronic mailing lists were great at providing social networking opportunities for many, including academics. Fortunately, the World Wide Web and mobile platforms afforded the ability to communicate using emotional expressions with yet another medium, that is, social media, through the use of graphical interfaces.

Although emotional expressions were present on the Internet, and through other modes of media communication (eg, letters and asynchronous video), the Internet, through social media, brings us closer to what it means to be human, that is, through the display of varied representations of emotions that are presented as emoticons, emotives, emojis, text, images, voicethreads, video, and video blogs. We now have the opportunity to show the world how we feel, and not just a few individuals.

Social media sites provide us with a human experience and voice where we observe individual expressions of joy, excitement, hurt, and pain to name a few. In the past, we could only experience a limited expression of emotions through direct communication in face-to-face situations, through video, letters, and telephone conversations, and, to some extent, electronic mailing lists, discussion forums, blogs, wikis, and emails. In most of the aforementioned situations the interaction was limited, but we are no longer bound by historical or afterthought expressions of emotion, we now have the affordance of posting in the moment expressions of emotions and observations of learning.

There has been very little written in the literature about the intersection of emotions, psychology, and the use of technology; although others in sociology and communications have been at the forefront of this emerging field of the social expression of emotions, and in investigating the various forms of technology that are at the intersection of emotion, the Internet, and other forms of computer mediated communication (Benski & Fisher, 2013; Kappas & Kramer, 2011; Karatzogianni & Kuntsman, 2012). Svensson (2013), in Benski and Fisher, raised a question in his chapter on Power, identity, and feelings in digital late modernity: …what is the rationality of emotional displays online? p. 8.

This volume fills the gap in the literature on expressions of emotions through social media, by using psychosocial theoretical frameworks and methodologies to discuss and analyze the intersections of emotions, technology, and sociopolitical discussions of race (Schuschke & Tynes, this volume), how social media may be used as a venue to observe emotional regulation in adolescents (Blumberg, Rich & Dickmeis, this volume), and how adolescents communicate and express themselves on Facebook (Thorkildsen & Xing, this volume). Understanding the diverse aspects of emotion, and its expressions through social media sites, this book provides the reader with a view of families’ use, or nonuse, of social media (Sinanan, this volume), as well as a view of the often unconsidered emotional appeals of crowdfunding in obtaining financial support (Gomez-Diago, this volume). This is the seventh volume in the series of Emotions and Technology, which focuses on the role of emotions across diverse technology domains (eg, robots, computers, and mobile). However, this volume specifically emphasizes emotions, technology, and social media. For other interests please see the other volumes that individually focus on different technologies and constructs (Games, Design and Learning, Behaviors, Learning, Design, Health, and this current volume on Social

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