Tero Karppi


Photo by Blake Eligh

Assistant Professor, ICCIT, University of Toronto (UTM)
Phd, University of Turku, Finland

Tero Karppi is a Finnish-born new media scholar and theorist. In his work Karppi focuses on disconnections in social media and network culture. He is interested in understanding our culture of connectivity through different platforms and their operations – especially when they fail – and puts emphasis on the non-human actors and agencies involved. Thus he tries to challenge and find alternatives for models that aim to explain social media through user participation. More broadly his research interests include media theory, new and digital media, social media, algorithms, digital economy and affect theory.

In his writings Karppi has explored different social media platforms and mechanisms of extracting value out of users. He has analyzed social media related phenomena such as digital suicide, dead Facebook users and online trolls. Recently he has been interested in the relation between Twitter and financial markets. Karppi’s research has been published in journals such as Theory Culture & Society,  Fibreculture, Culture Machine and Transformations and his 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. Karppi has worked as a researcher at the University of Turku, and at the Game Research Laboratory, University of Tampere, Finland. He was also a Social Media Collective PhD intern at Microsoft Research.

Current research

Karppi is at work on a book-length manuscript contracted with University of Minnesota Press and tentatively titled as Disconnect: Facebook’s Affective Bonds. This book looks at the limits of user participation as a practical and theoretical problem in social media. The book argues that disconnection as a framework of research offers a novel viewpoint on social media, and has the potential to challenge our prevailing conceptions of these sites. With case-based examples embracing disconnection in theory and in practice the book points out, that our multiple engagements with social media sites are complex, affective, and can be designed, manipulated and monetized. His prospective research projects include a critical take on the notion of prediction in relation to big data and social media.