Communication Revolution: The Semiotics of Social Media


Fig. 1

There is a lot to unpack in the screenshots on the opposite page, and I think I speak for many when I say there is a lot I'd like to simply ignore. But in the wake of the right-wing political insurgencies which have been rocking Western democracies for the last couple of years, public conversation has shed light on the damaging effects of social media on elections, campaigns and referendums. We have begun to perceive that the way we communicate on these new media is radically different from the modes of the past. A recent article in The Economist, 'Social Media's Threat to Democracy' outlines this in suitably economic terms, based on the theories of Herbert Simons. He wrote about an 'economy based on attention', where information consumes attention, therefore the ability to attract consumer attention becomes the primary design of online information sources.