On Subtweeting

In Patrick Connolly, Sanford C. Goldberg & Jennifer Saul (eds.), Conversations Online. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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In paradigmatic cases of subtweeting, one Twitter user critically or mockingly tweets about another person without mentioning their username or their name. In this chapter, we give an account of the strategic aims of subtweeting and the mechanics through which it achieves them. We thereby hope to shed light on the distinctive communicative and moral texture of subtweeting while filling in a gap in the philosophical literature on strategic speech in social media. We first specify what subtweets are and identify the central features that give rise to their strategic mechanics. Next, we draw attention to problematic aspects of subtweeting and consider conditions under which subtweeting can be justified on moral and prudential grounds. The chapter concludes by discussing practical upshots and noting avenues for future work.

Author Profiles

Eleonore Neufeld
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Elise Woodard
King's College London


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