Special issue of social media: the good, the bad, and the ugly (Journal of Communication)

As social media scholarship pervades the communication discipline, it is time to reflect on the good, bad, and ugly of social media. The theme for this special issue is inspired in part by the 1966 film, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Like its portrayal of the American Civil War, we again face deep divisions. The question is what role is social media helping us to heal those divides versus fragmenting us further? The seven articles in this issue reflect the complexity of the answer. Although we aimed for diversity, this issue focuses on the Global North. This reflects the field and the need to decenter Western epistemology. Nevertheless, the articles help us see that social media is not easily reduced to simplistic framings, but instead enables new connections and collective action, while also risking further fragmentation of our information environment and greater polarization—while technology companies profit.

Full volume here.