It took a while, but now the Social Media Reader, a great collection of essays on the culture and politics of social media, edited by Michael Mandiberg, is now out from New York University Press.

From the backcover of the book:

With the rise of web 2.0 and social media platforms taking over vast tracts of territory on the internet, the media landscape has shifted drastically in the past 20 years, transforming previously stable relationships between media creators and consumers. The Social Media Reader is the first collection to address the collective transformation with pieces on social media, peer production, copyright politics, and other aspects of contemporary internet culture from all the major thinkers in the field. Culling a broad range and incorporating different styles of scholarship from foundational pieces and published articles to unpublished pieces, journalistic accounts, personal narratives from blogs, and whitepapers,

The Social Media Reader promises to be an essential text, with contributions from Lawrence Lessig, Henry Jenkins, Clay Shirky, Tim O'Reilly, Chris Anderson, Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, and Fred von Loehmann, to name a few. It covers a wide-ranging topical terrain, much like the internet itself, with particular emphasis on collaboration and sharing, the politics of social media and social networking, Free Culture and copyright politics, and labour and ownership. Theorizing new models of collaboration, identity, commerce, copyright, ownership, and labour, these essays outline possibilities for cultural democracy that arise when the formerly passive audience becomes active cultural creators, while warning of the dystopian potential of new forms of surveillance and control.

What the official blurb did not mention is that included in that fine volume, there is also an essay by me, called "Between democracy and spectacle. The front and the back of the social web." As I know read through it, I realize that I'm one of very few Europeans included in there, and that one of, again, very few who are, in balance, rather negative about how the potential of these media is being realised. A coincidence?