The issue examines viral media within the context of politics and society. Dr Denisova begins the issue with her editorial on ‘How to Define ‘Viral’ for Media Studies?’ She states that ‘Viral’ is an ‘imperfect term for rapid spread of information’ but viral media items still have the potential to deliver ‘progressive ideas’.
The issue includes articles such as ‘Understanding Viral Communism: A Thematic Analysis of Twitter During Brazil’s 2018 Elections’ by Helton Levy from City, University of London and Claudia Sarmento from the University of Westminster, as well as commentary such as ‘‘Intersectionalist Went Viral’: Toxic Platforms, Distinctive Black Cyberfeminism and Fighting Misogynoir – An Interview with Kishonna Gray’’ from the WPCC Editorial Board.
Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture is published by the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) with the University of Westminster Press. It is a peer-reviewed journal published online, which wishes to engage international scholars in a critical debate about the relationship between communication, culture and society in the 21st century.
Dr Denisova said about the publication: “I have been fascinated by why things go viral – like a wildfire, a news story or a silly image can travel miles and grab attention of millions of people. I have started editing this special edition over a year ago, moving on from my book Internet Memes and Society. All submissions went through double-blind peer review and we selected the best and relevant papers. Viral media is an emerging subject, and I am honoured to have worked with the brilliant academics who contributed their articles on BuzzFeed and Vice, sports and radio, viral communism and insights on intersectionality online.
“None of us could expect that ‘viral’ would become a buzzword of 2020, for all the wrong reasons. While I do question in my editorial whether ‘viral’ is the reliable metaphor or has to be revised for media studies, I also argue for the need of the vaccine for ‘viral communication’. Literacy, awareness, trust in journalism – we are yet to figure out what it can be. In the meantime, this edition gives a timely round up of all things viral and why they rely on emotion, communities and network algorithms.