Snapchat sociologist Nathan Jurgenson's new book, The Social Photo: On Photography and Social Media, is a sprawling consideration of social media as a new photographic ecosystem. Jurgenson crystallizes a working definition of the “social photo” that works against the widespread dismissal of contemporary media culture as socially invalid and inauthentic. It also delineates the replacement of photographic nostalgia with ephemerality and reconsiders documentary vision in light of the social media feed. Jurgenson states that he aims “to sensitize more than convince,” and The Social Photo does ultimately fall short of any unified theory of social media photography (11). It skirts both the social-scientific evidence and theoretical depth that could have...

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