Tag: Lewis Goodings

Digital atmospheres: affective practices of care in Elefriends

Fascinating article on care, affect and social media by Ian M Tucker and Lewis Goodings in Sociology of Health & Illness Vol. xx No. xx 2017 ISSN 0141-9889, pp. 114.

“We nd that the caring relations developed through social media
often need to be cared for themselves.”

Ian will be doing a paper on Simondon at the Affect and Social Media Conference on May 25th at UEL.

Lewis and Ian are also contributing to the forthcoming A&SM edited book.

This article develops the concept of digital atmosphere to analyse the affective power
of social media to shape practices of care and support for people living with mental
distress. Using contemporary accounts of affective atm ospheres, the article focuses
on feelings of distress, support and care that unfold through digital atmospheres. The
power of social media intersects with peoples support and care-seeking practices in
multiple ways and not in a straightforward model of accessing or providing
support. Indeed, we nd that the caring relations developed through social media
often need to be cared for themselves. The article draws on online and interview data
from a larger project investigating how practices of care and support are
(re)congured in the mental health-related social media site Elefriends. Users have to
negotiate the disruption of moving support online, as well as the possibility of
becoming subject to a fragility in care, in which caring for oneself becomes bound up
in the ambiguities of caring for others. We argue that understanding how experiences
of distress are shaped by social media is essential for understanding the implications
of the increased digitisati on of mental healthcare.
Keywords: social media, mental distress, digital atmosphere, affect, Elefriends
Mental distress, social media and affect
The experience of mental distress is increasingly shaped by social media (Aboujaoude and Starcevic 2015, Bauman and Rivers 2015). The proliferation of social media in the digital age has led to the development of a range of mental healthfocused social media, designed as tools for support for people suffering ongoing mental distress (see Hamm et al. 2013 for a useful review). This article focuses on the use of one social media site as a digital space that facilitates peer support. We aim to explore the affective experience of using the site Elefriends and the dilemmas and challenges that are produced in the act of co-constituting distress (and responses to distress) via an online platform. The concept of digital atmosphere is developed to analyse the individual and collective forms of affective experienc e emerging in and through social media. This builds on the growing literature on
atmospheres that has developed in affect studies (Anderson 2014, Brennan 2004). The use of the concept of atmosphere allows us to address experiences of distress through encounters between bodies and social media as technological objects, as well as digital spaces for interaction. Such encounters involve the transmission of affects that come to inform and produce individual feelings of distress.

Call for Papers: Leaking affects and mediated spaces

Call for Papers: Leaking affects and mediated spaces for the Fourth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies
1-3 July 2013 at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Session: Leaking affects and mediated spaces.

Session organisers: Darren Ellis, John Cromby, Lewis Goodings, Tony Sampson and Ian Tucker

We seem to possess the ability to move and to be greatly moved by our daily interactions with increasingly complex forms of electronic media. We are soaked in the seepage of affective information about others (other humans, other beings, other spaces) and continually leak similar stuff about ourselves, both intentionally and unintentionally, and often somewhere in-between the two. For example, signified affective states are issued through the often mundane emoticons ():), kisses (x), and curses (f**k); and our pleasures and pursuits can be captured by sophisticated algorithms that track internet activity. Perhaps digitised space has opened the way to new realms of affective contagions, transactions, communications and doings. To what extent then do we get a sense of the affect-trails that we leave behind and those that we pick up? What kinds of senses are involved and how might we experience them on a day to day basis? Indeed what are the possibilities and limitations of sharing, imparting and capturing affects across this electronic ether? Is there a flattening of affect or is something qualitatively different occurring? Central to these questions are notions of distribution and spatial expression, and the need to understand the affective nature (or not) of the relations and connections between bodies and technologies that form our everyday territories. The sessions that make up this proposal seek to explore these issues in a number of theoretical and empirical ways, with interest in (although not limited to) areas such as surveillance, social media and embodiment.

Key Questions: How do we understand the multiple and fluid ways that affect becomes distributed across and through bodies, technologies and spaces? How is affect marked out and made visible in mediated online spaces? Is affect still a useful way for configuring the expression of intensive processes spatially?

Paper proposals are invited focusing on (although are not limited to):


Social Media


Digital and non-digital topology

Body-technology relations

Novel empirical approaches to studies of affect

Please send abstracts of up to 250 words to Darren Ellis (D.Ellis@uel.ac.uk) before the 20th of January 2013

Confirmed Viral Events for 2012/13

  • There are a number of confirmed events related to Virality that might be of interest to readers of this blog.

    Following the academic launch of Virality at Goldsmiths College in October and the launch party with Mute Magazine in Limehouse last Friday (more on that collaboration soon in another post), I will be joining Jussi Parikka at the School of Arts and Humanities (Culture, Media and Creative Industries) Kings College, London on the 20th March (this new date is penciled in replacing the Feb 6th) for our “Anomalies, Archaeology and Contagion” talk and discussion followed by a wine reception for both Virality and Jussi’s What is Media Archaeology?

    There’s an interesting event at the University of East London (School of Arts and Digital Industries) in Feb where I’m planning to do a piece on “Viral Love and the Underground Man.” The “Love Slam” event is on the 14th Feb 6-9pm.

    As part of an ongoing series of collaborations with artists and musicians I’ve been working with the “crowd” artist Dean Todd on a performance piece for Virality which will be exhibited at the “Bookworks” show between April 8-19th, also at the University of East London.

    On April 11th 2013 I will visit the Copenhagen Business School to do a talk called “Putting the Neuron Doctrine to Work.” This is for an invite to a public lecture series called “Public Sphere, Crowd Sentiments and the Brain.”

    I have a provisional working title for a confirmed invite to the Department of Sociology and Communications at Brunel University on May 24th. “Too Much Connectivity” will form part of the “New Media and the Internet: Digital Democracy or Complex Chaos?” series of workshops.

    Between July 1-3rd we (Darren Ellis, John Cromby, Lewis Goodings, Tony Sampson, and Ian Tuckerare) are off to the Fourth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands to run a couple of seminars called “Leaking Affects and Mediated Spaces.”

    Finally, there are a few other events in the pipeline including a contribution to an exhibit at the Berlin Transmediale Festival in Jan-Feb 2013, and a series of workshops at the University of Bern in Switzerland on the subject of the Immunologic. More details to follow.