Paramedia : thresholds of the social text
Julkaistu sarjassaJyväskylä studies in humanities
This work is an adaptation of Gerard Genette’s theory of paratexts to social media. Paratexts are information surrounding texts, and usually helping the user to decide whether or not to consume a text. In social media, a plurality of new information surrounds texts we read every day. They are dynamic by nature and have different authors: the social platforms, like Facebook or YouTube; the authors of texts, and the users who comment and share them. This collection of four articles will debate the ethos in social media, what is an author in social media, what are the identified paratexts in selected social media websites and the limits of interpretation of paratexts in contemporary Brazilian literature cases. The relation between text and paratext is more complex than it seems, as paratexts can be charged with information that sparks controversy, such as debates on race, gender, social class, territorialism and others. The work opens the discussion on how paratextual elements can influence what we write and consume in social media, by analyzing how this surrounding information can be attached to texts by authors, by other users, by algorithms and other actors. In addition to the analysis, the work proposes a framework that breaks down paratexts into three main categories: the author’s paratexts, the audience’s paratexts and the network’s paratexts. Those unfold in numerous subcategories, based on the interfaces of numerous user-generated content websites. Lastly, the research analyzes the main differences between the original paratext concept by Gerard Genette, conceived with print media in mind, and the new landscape of digital media. By careful comparison and contrast, the work proposes a new term, paramedia, to define the information that surrounds user- generated texts in social media. One of the conclusions, as well, is that readers now have a new role in creating text affiliations. Social media users are logs of “watched videos” or “liked posts”, and those influence which paratexts will be shown when they navigate these networks. Paramedia is heavily based on user data and textual data, and this new way of reading, writing and existing in media must be observed closely.
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