In this journal article, Heidrun Herzogenrath-Amelung explores the meaning of ‘truth’ in the digital age. The full article has been published by Media Culture and Society, and the abstract reproduced here with kind permission.
The recent sacking of the eminent scientist Tim Hunt from one of the United Kingdom’s leading research institutions is only the latest in a series of cases where public individuals have been derided for comments made in jest on social media, with serious consequences for their professional and personal lives. This article discusses the case of Tim Hunt as an example of the extent to which the privileging of the correct over the true which has long pervaded media discourse is taken to the extreme by the instant-response culture of social media. It points to the emergence of a new form of instantaneity enabled by these networked forms of communication that serves to reinforce systemic inaction rather than the change widely associated with these technologies. It draws on philosophy and critical theory as useful conceptual frameworks for highlighting the ways in which Twitter and co. increasingly call us to action but crowd out thought, thereby passing over opportunities for real social change.
This article should be referenced as: Herzogenrath-Amelung, H. (2016). The New Instantaneity: How Social Media are Helping us Privilege the (Politically) Correct over the True. Media, Culture & Society. vol. 38 no. 7 1080-1089.