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Are we changing from Mass theory to Niche theory era in Social media theory?

Hello All, 

Now I'm working on my PhD dissertation and I kept thinking of this idea for a while after searching around for the social media theory for my literature reivew. 

Maybe this is already common for all of you or maybe it's my misunderstanding so if you have an idea please kindly tell me your thoughts about the question below;


Are we changing from Mass theory  to Niche theory era in Social media theory?*

*In terms of Media studies


During my B.A, I did my research regarding Television and mass media. When we talked about mass media, there are various theories that most of the academia accpeted/criticized or at least you have heard about it once. (Like Stuart Hall/Encoding-decoding theory, Injection Theory, User-gratification theory....) 

During my M.A.S, I shifted my focus to the comic fans; then I found Henry Jenkins, Nancy K. Baym and Matt Hills. Most of the research I reviewed cited 'Textual Poacher' or 'Free labour'. 

However,  now while I am currently doing my research about social media. I must confess I found lots of social media related research but most of them focused on some specific social media (Facebook, YouTube, etc.). Then, for the literature review part, it depends on each scholar to choose the closest research for own literature review. So far I haven't found "the one" that can cover almost all/all what we called Social Media yet. 

Moreover, when I have a chance to talk with other scholars regarding social media theory, I found our discussion easily shifted to Habermas (Public sphere) or Participatory Culture or Civic Journalism or Social media pedagogy pr Social Media Marketing.  

I haven't found the theory for Social Media that I can use for examining Social media in common. That we can talk with other media scholars like Mass media or Fan studies in the past.


Maybe the social media is too big to explain into the common theory like we could explain mass media in the past?

Again, back to my quesiton 

Are we changing from Mass theory  to Niche theory era in Social media theory? *

*In terms of Media studies



If you have any ideas or any books/papers, please discuss or recommend here ^^ 


Thank you so much


Gift ^^ 


P.S. I'm doing a research regarding Japanese social media. 


Actually I found one research from Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein stated that

"Social Media isa group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchangeof User Generated Content."

I think this definition is wide but what about upcoming web 2.5 or 3.0 or Web Application on iPhone/Android? Will it still be called Social Media? 






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