Ephemeral design: Platform capitalism and the making of a feature

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Abstract

The rapid rise and fall of digital products and the ebbs and flows of Internet culture may seem antithetical—or at the very least a significant hurdle—to historical investigations. Can media scholars write digital histories “on the fly” and of recent events, some still unfolding in front of our eyes? This article addresses this question by studying objects, designs, and values in motion and in flux. I track the quality of ephemerality from the early days of cyberspace to the present and as it relates to different players and stakeholders. In so doing, a historical perspective of the perceptions and applications of evanescence will serve as the foundation for engaging with several contradictory and dynamic processes (commodification, resistance, and metabolization). This piece spotlights ephemerality’s evolving role from a de facto state of affairs to a rarity, a resistive strategy, and, finally, a popular feature.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Media and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Keywords

  • Aesthetics
  • deletion
  • design
  • ephemerality
  • hegemony
  • political economy
  • social media

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