From the conclusion to my contribution on "Social Media" in Wiley's "The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology:"
Anthropologists are still coming to terms with social media and its impact on everyAnd I think I still agree with that-- social media continue to be leaky and messy: the dishes you haven't yet washed in your intellectual sink.
level of our lives. No matter what new SNS platforms develop, though, it is certain that
social media will continue to be a source of controversy in the field. The reasons for
controversy may vary, but they will all pivot on the essential liminality of social media.
By definition, it occupies spaces between worlds: between people, between online and
offline, between official and unofficial, between private and public, between resistance
and accommodation, between horizontality and verticality. For all of these reasons,
anthropologists are unlikely to be entirely comfortable with the social media they and
their interlocutors utilize, whatever new platforms may develop in the future. But that
discomfort can also be a source of strength, one that can help to highlight and perhaps
help to overturn persistent inequalities in the field, all the while revealing dimensions
of our work that may have been suppressed or sublimated in the past.