Tero Karppi


Photo by Blake Eligh

Assistant Professor, ICCIT & Faculty of Information, University of Toronto.
Docent of Communication, University of Helsinki.
Phd, University of Turku, Finland.

Tero Karppi is a Finnish-born new media scholar.  His book Disconnect: Facebook’s Affective Bonds was published by the University of Minnesota Press in October 2018.


My research is located in the area of media studies, with an emphasis on media theory and a focus on social media, new media, and digital media. The overarching theme of my research has been to understand how individuals are affected by new media technologies on personal and collective levels. My research asks “What if new media technologies affect us beyond objective reason, subjective emotion, and prior to and independent of their interpretation or even cognitive impact?” What follows from this position, inherent to approaches such as affect theory, is a reversal of the relation between users and new media technologies in the line of inquiry; in practice, and aligning with approaches such as software studies or platform studies, this means that individuals are being examined from the perspective of new media technologies. In other words, my research to date has contributed to knowledge about the different ways new media technologies govern, manage, and control their users, and thus also constitute human experience from above and from below.

In my research I have explored different social media platforms and mechanisms of extracting value out of users. I have analyzed social media related phenomena such as digital suicide, dead Facebook users, and the use of social media in predictive policing. Together with others, I have written about Twitter’s impact on financial markets, the notion of Killer Robots, virtual personal assistants, and most recently about former Facebook executives’ calls to abandon social media.

I am currently working on several book-length projects. Undoing Networks (Meson Press / University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming) is co-authored  with Urs Stäheli, Clara Wieghorst and Lea Zierott. Reckoning with Social Media: Disconnection Practices in the Age of the Techlash is a co-edited anthology with Aleena Chia and Ana Jorge. The Claim is a monograph which explores the world-building projects of tech patents. Bodies in Space aims to bring outer space into the spectrum of media theory.

My research has been published in journals such as Theory Culture & Society, New Media & Society, Fibreculture, Culture Machine and Transformations and my work has been featured in the Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, the German version of Wired, and number of Finnish news outlets such as Helsingin Sanomat and YLE News. I have worked as researcher at the University of Turku, and at the Game Research Laboratory, University of Tampere. Before joining U of T I was assistant professor of media theory at the Department of Media Study, at the University at Buffalo. I am also a former Social Media Collective PhD intern at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, MA.