#TrueCrime: Digital Culture, Ethics and True Crime Audiences

Simon Ian Hobbs (Editor), Megan Hoffman (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This collection offers the first book-length study of user-generated, social media-based true
crime content. In recent years, the true crime community has morphed from consumers to
producers, using social networking sites such as Instagram, Reddit, YouTube and TikTok as
platforms to discuss, share and create true crime-related materials. In the popular press, the
ethical pitfalls of the low-threshold styles of content creation that typify social media true
crime have made headlines, yet social media can offer true crime consumers and producers
alternative avenues of expression that are both individually empowering and potentially
genre-changing. In essence, the same low thresholds that allow for conjecture and conspiracy
also afford fans space for critique and analysis, while the vast range of user-generated
materials that will be the focus of this collection provides consumers with opportunities to
find content that aligns with their personal, political and cultural preferences.

The book will consider the large and varied true crime community, outlining their at times
contradictory needs and desires, from those who wish to partake in acts of sleuthing and
fannish behaviours, to those who seek spaces to articulate otherwise marginalised opinions
and challenge what they perceive to be problematic practices. In exploring social media true
crime rather than the long-form, professional productions that have so far been the focus of
academic literature on the subject, this book will inevitably be able to speak of a wider set of
voices, including the important perspectives being offered by survivors of crime or family
members of victims. In doing so, the work will challenge the often-limiting nature of the true
crime genre and its tendency to focus on White, female victims.

Specifically, the authors in this collection consider an assortment of textual outputs, ranging
from YouTube unboxing videos, alternate reality games on TikTok, the comment sections of
shock websites and the activities of true crime influencers. Furthermore, the scholars within
this work deal with a range of themes that are at the centre of the wider true crime discourse,
including issues surrounding representation, ethics and audience reception.

This book will appeal to those researching the true crime genre, fan practices, contemporary
social media usage and the ethics of screened representation.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 2024

Publication series

NameFan Studies
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

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