Date of this Version
Andrew T. Lamas
critical theory, social media platforms, alternative social media, technology, herbert marcuse, aesthetics, new sensibility
Social media platforms are technological communication tools that dominate our social relationships. As we increasingly notice how little control we have over these platforms and how much influence they have on our behavior, the search for alternatives becomes even more pressing. Critical theory is a practical and theoretical framework we can use to develop a qualitative critique of social media platforms, in extension to the large body of work that addresses the quantitatively measurable effects of the platforms. The internet was originally conceived as a space that would open a more communitarian future, but now it has been reduced to a realm dominated by giant corporations like facebook. Critical theory alternatives include structural change recommendations, but they often lack a discussion of what the aesthetics of a new social internet space would look like. By turning to Herbert Marcuse’s concept of the “new sensibility,” I argue that, if altered, the social media platform space opens up a possibility to combine the practical and the aesthetic and lead us to a radically different social internet space.
Date Posted:31 August 2018