Digital Media: Transformations in Human Communication, Second Edition Edited by Paul Messaris and Lee Humphreys (Ph.D. ‘07)

The book boasts a wide range of scholars as contributors, including 11 with Annenberg connections.

By Ashton Yount

Professor Paul Messaris and alumna Lee Humphreys recently published the second edition of their edited volume Digital Media: Transformations in Human Communication (Peter Lang, 2017).

As the book describes, the advent of digital media has created a world in which the transmission of information is multi-directional. People voluntarily deposit their personal details in publicly accessible databases, and interpersonal relationships are increasingly conducted in the virtual sphere.

The second edition of Digital Media examines these changes and their impact in six areas: information, persuasion, community, gender and sexuality, surveillance and privacy, and cross-cultural communication.

Of the more than thirty essays included in the book, all but one are completely new or revised for this edition.

Photo of "Digital Media: Transformations in Human Communication" book cover

Messaris is the Lev Kuleshov Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His research and teaching are focused on visual communication, with particular attention on digital media.

His first book, Visual Literary: Image, Mind, & Reality (Westview Press, 1994), won the NCA’s Diamond Anniversary Book Award. His 2008 film, The Harmful Effects of Violent Movies, was a best-feature nominee at three film festivals.

Humphreys, who received her Ph.D. from Annenberg in 2007, is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. She studies the social uses and perceived effects of communication technology. In addition to teaching courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, Humphreys is currently working on a book entitled The Qualified Self: Social Media and the Accounting of Everyday Life (MIT Press, forthcoming). She also serves as the Chair of ICA’s Communication & Technology division.

In addition to the expertise editors Messaris and Humphreys bring, Digital Media boasts a wide range of scholars as contributors, including 11 with Annenberg connections.

Professor Jessa Lingel authored Chapter 14, entitled “The Death and Life of Great Online Subcultures: The Evolution of Body Modification Ezine”; Professor Marwan M. Kraidy authored Chapter 25, entitled “Music Video and Relations Between Nations in the Digital Sphere”; and Professor Emeritus Oscar Gandy, Jr. authored Chapter 31, entitled “The Panoptic Sort: Looking Back; Looking Forward.”

Also, eight Annenberg alumni authored or co-authored chapters, including Paul Falzone (Ph.D. ’08), Jennifer Stromer-Galley (Ph.D. ’02), Shane Mannis (Ph.D. ’15), Adrienne Shaw (Ph.D. ’10), Derek Blackwell (Ph.D. ’14), Mihaela Popescu (Ph.D. ’08), Lemi Baruh (Ph.D. ’07), and Yoel Roth (Ph.D. ’16).

The book is dedicated to Larry Gross, Professor of Communication at the University of Southern California. From 1968-2003, Gross was a faculty member at Annenberg, which included a tenure as deputy dean of the school.