Enjoying Social Media



In what follows, my central concern is with the contemporary critique of ideology; but my trajectory involves thinking the operation of ideology in socialmedia. By social media, I mean Web-based networksites that, as boyd and Ellison explain, allow people to “(1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.”1 The examples of such sites are familiar by now to many and include blogs and sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. My objective is to think critically about the ideological role of social media in the context of late capitalist consumer society—a society defined by what Slavoj Žižek refers to as the “demise of symbolic efficiency,” what Fredric Jameson has defined as “postmodern,” or what Mark Fisher has more recently referred to as “capitalist realism.”2 Referring as well to Jodi Dean’s pioneering work on a Žižekian approach to online media, particularly her conception of “communicative capitalism,” my aim is to argue that social media provides a good model for thinking about the connection between ideology and enjoyment at a point when digital media makes possible the conditions for the erosion of the subject of desire. In contrast to Dean, though, my claim is that the ideological operation of social media is one that interpellates the subject in relation to desire rather than drive.


Social Medium Social Network Site Symbolic Order Capitalist Realism Consumer Society 
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    See Slavoj Žižek, The Ticklish Subject (New York: Verso, 1999);Google Scholar
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© Matthew Flisfeder and Louis-Paul Willis 2014

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