The Continued Relevance of Reception Analysis in the Age of Social Media

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Far from being a remnant of the past, reception analysis must continue to set the question of meaning as a central issue in media studies, an issue that appears to be missing from current understandings of social media in which audiences are often reduced to a single reality or simply ignored as empirical reality. This paper argues for the continued relevance of reception analysis, inspite of the mismatch of the label, and develops this argument by applying one of its most fundamental insights, namely its investigation of the relationship between media and audience —or between text and context—, to the study of social media audiences. In particular, the paper suggests three ways to look at the text-context relationship on Facebook with reference to its use during the “student crisis” in Quebec, Canada in 2012. It suggests three nexuses that represent as many sites of circulation of meaning in society: 1) gatekeeping, 2) remix and 3) positioning. Resulting from this framework, three agendas are suggested for the study of audiences of social media: 1) the relationship between old and new media, 2) the “audiencification” of the text, and 3) the war between audiences.
Udgave nummer36
Sider (fra-til)13-34
StatusUdgivet - 2015

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