Call for Chapters: /VIRAL MEDIA book/

13 November 2018
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Abstracts due: 12 December 2018

Social media are changing the way we receive, share and consume fact and opinion. One of the reasons for that is the affordances of social networks that facilitate the rapid, immediate spread of information (Nahon & Hemsley, 2013). Another reason is the decreasing attention span of digital users and the ‘logic of acceleration’ (Rosa, 2013) – people spend less time to engage with a topic, but are more likely to form their opinion based on a headline, a meme or a short tweet.

This edited collection aims at establishing the theory and empirical research on this topical subject, viral media. General public, academics and journalists use “viral” in many ways. This book will narrow down the definition for media studies and conceptualise the buzzword into a consistent theory. The working definition of “viral” is the spread of information, opinion and entertaining pieces that catch like a wild fire in a short period of time. It is similar to a biological “virus”, as people pick it from others – close and broad networks, acquaintances and strangers – and then pass on to the close as much as broader networks. The biological definition is not enough, so we are looking at the sociological and psychological explanations, too.

We are welcoming theoretical and empirical studies on viral media.

The volume welcomes, but is not limited to, contributions that work to answer the following question:

  • What makes people pick and share things online at a speed of a wild fire?
  • Does the level of media literacy impact the “viral” decisions?
  • Do professional journalists do things “virally” to catch up with distracted public? Research on the likes of BuzzFeed, HuffPost, social media use of journalists is welcome.
  • What processes happen in our brain and psyche when we press the “share” button?
  • How is viral different from popular?
  • What do we mean by “viral media” – is it the artefacts that spread rapidly, or the networks and platforms that accommodate the speedy circulation of things?
  • Case studies from various countries and contexts are welcome.
  • Studies on public relations, advertising and “viral” are welcome.
  • Attention economy and its impact on viral media.
  • Specific cases that explore one phenomenon or a viral hit are welcome.

Other proposals within scope will also be considered.

The editor invites submissions of 200-250 word chapter proposals.

Deadline: 12 December 2018.

Submissions should be sent to the editor, Dr Anastasia Denisova, Communication and Media Research Institute, University of Westminster

Submissions should also include:

  1. Title of chapter
  2. Author name/s, institutional details
  3. Corresponding author’s email address
  4. Keywords (no more than 5)
  5. A short bio

Authors will be informed of commissioning by the end of December 2018.

Commissioned chapters will be around 6,000-8,000 words and will be due by 1st May 2019.

We have interest from major publishing houses, who would like to publish this edited book.

The fact that an abstract is accepted does not guarantee publication of the final manuscript. All chapters submitted will be judged on the basis of a double-blind reviewing process.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the editor, Dr Anastasia Denisova

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