What makes this book a valuable resource lies neither in the novelty of the question it asks nor in the method it deploys to answer that question. The question of whether and how social media can help transform relations of power has been asked numerous times. In addition, the once-novel method of virtual ethnography is now just another research strategy in the research toolkit because social media is increasingly an inseparable part of the everyday lives of ethnographers and their informants. What makes the book valuable, therefore (especially for use in undergraduate classes), is that Temple University sociologist Kidd uses this methodology along with the accessible versions of a range of sociological theories (from queer theory to the Deleuzian rhizome) to study several cases in which the question above finds a relatively optimistic answer: in spite of the hegemonic forces in social media, “freaks”—those who are pushed to the margins of the society—use the same online tools to embrace their identities and turn them into a source of empowerment. Students can easily relate to the cases discussed in the book, ranging from the Gamergate controversy to Black Lives Matter.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All general and undergraduate collections. Reviewer: A. Shiva, University of Minnesota Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Sociology Choice Issue: Nov 2017