New Open Access Book: Social Media in South India

Posted on June 21, 2017 by UCL Press

We are delighted to announce the publication of the latest book in the Why We Post series, Social Media in South India by Shriram Venkatraman.

One of the first ethnographic studies to explore use of social media in the everyday lives of people in Tamil Nadu, Social Media in South India provides an understanding of this subject in a region experiencing rapid transformation. The influx of IT companies over the past decade into what was once a space dominated by agriculture has resulted in a complex juxtaposition between an evolving knowledge economy and the traditions of rural life. While certain class tensions have emerged in response to this juxtaposition, a study of social media in the region suggests that similarities have also transpired, observed most clearly in the blurring of boundaries between work and life for both the old residents and the new.

Venkatraman explores the impact of social media at home, work and school, and analyses the influence of class, caste, age and gender on how, and which, social media platforms are used in different contexts. These factors, he argues, have a significant effect on social media use, suggesting that social media in South India, while seeming to induce societal change, actually remains bound by local traditions and practices.

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UCL Press authors Daniel Miller and Elisabetta Costa appear on Radio 4's Today

Posted on February 29, 2016 by UCL Press

Why do we post selfies in England and footies (photos of their feet) in Chile? How quintessentially English are we when it comes to our social media activity? These are a few of the big themes explored in Why We Post - a global social media research project carried out by a team of UCL anthropologists. Professor Daniel Miller, Professor of Anthropology at UCL, who led the project, and Dr Elisabetta Costa is Anthropologist at the British Institute at Ankara appeared on  Radio 4's influential Today show this morning to discuss the Why We Post project in more detail. 

  • Click here to listen to their segment (starts at 2:54)

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Why We Post Launches on 29 February

Posted on February 11, 2016 by UCL Press

UCL Press is delighted to announce the publication of a major new series on the anthropology of social media, Why We Post. Based on the groundbreaking work of 9 anthropologists who each spent 15 months living in communities in China, Brazil, Turkey, Chile, India, England, Italy and Trinidad, the series explores and compares the results in a collection of ground-breaking and accessible ethnographic studies.

Studying not only platforms but also the content of social media has allowed them to gain a better understanding of not just why we post, but also the consequences of social media on our lives. Their findings indicate that social media is more than communication – it is also a place where we now live. 

The first three books in this series will be released on February 29th, and include: 

  • How the World Changed Social Media
  • Social Media in an English Village
  • Social Media in Southeast Turkey

To sign up for more information on these, and forthcoming titles in the Why We Post series, click here

In addition to the books, the results of the project will be unveiled on UCL’s ‘Why We Post’ website ( which will comprise more than 100 videos and 15 key findings.

The Why We Post team are also offering a free e-learning course in English on FutureLearn, at in seven other languages at

If you've ever wondered why we post on social media, whether the rise of selfies is making us more narcissistic, or whether a factory worker in China uses these platforms in the same way as an Indian IT worker, you can find out more at

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