A critical review of media and communications scholarship on messaging apps

Emma Baulch, Amelia Johns, Ariadna Fernandez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


In this chapter we review media and communications scholarship on the ‘third wave’ of online messaging, which takes place via apps. The chapter addresses three research questions: (1) How have media/communications scholars perceived the societal and historical implications of the growth of online messaging? (2) Which geographical contexts and messaging apps do researchers engage with in studies of online messaging/messaging apps? and (3) What are the methodological and ethical challenges of researching messaging apps? We identify eight topics and four themes in the corpus, which consists of 77 journal articles. We also found that studies of messaging apps in China dominated the corpus, as did studies of WhatsApp. The chapter notes the need to experiment with and chronicle methods of studying messaging apps, and also notes the lack of critical studies of mobile messaging apps that examine how emerging user practices relate to platform power.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Social Media and Society
EditorsMarko M. Skoric, Natalie Pang
Place of PublicationCheltenham UK
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781800377059
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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