Social Media & New Media Final Exam

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How did traditional communication occur?

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Social Media & New Media Course Overview

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How did traditional communication occur?

Among people and between people and organizations

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Extensive Media Landscape

Internet: New (Digital) Media + Web 2.0: Social Media

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Media Landscape

Traditional/old (e.g., newspaper, magazine, TV, radio) + ‘new’ (digital) and social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)

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Examples of Traditional/Old Media

Newspaper, magazine, TV, and radio

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Examples of ‘New’ (Digital) and Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

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Significance of Digitalization

Digital culture offers new opportunities and sets new requirements for how we communicate

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Abnormal dependency of your smartphone and an excessive fear of not being continuously reachable via mobile phone

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The Two Media Characteristics

Social Presence & Media Richness

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Social Presence (Media Characteristic)

Mediation & Immediacy (space and time of communication)

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Media Richness (Media Characteristic)

Amount of information

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Social Characteristic


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Self-Presentation (Social Characteristic)

Extent and forms of self-disclosure

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An example of high self-disclosure + low media richness


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An example of high self-disclosure + medium media richness

Social networking sites (e.g., Facebook)

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An example of high self-disclosure + high media richness

Virtual social worlds (e.g., Second Life)

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An example of low self-disclosure + low media richness

Collaborative projects (e.g., Wikipedia)

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An example of low self-disclosure + medium media richness

Content communities (e.g., YouTube)

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An example of low self-disclosure + high media richness

Virtual game worlds (e.g., World of Warcraft)

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Describe a Telephone Conversation using Social & Media Characteristics

  • Mediation: (Telephone technology) Medium-high

  • Immediacy: High

  • Media Richness: Use of tone, volume, word choice

  • Missing: Gestures, facial expressions, and body posture

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Medium Factors (Herring, 2007)

  • Synchronicity

  • Message Transmission

  • Persistence of the Transcript

  • Size of message channels of communication

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Synchronicity (Medium Factor)

  • Asynchronous (different time of producing & receiving)

  • Synchronous (e.g., Zooms and Lives)

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Message Transmission (Medium Factor)

  • One-to-one (phone call)

  • One-to-many (Twitter)

  • Many-to-many (group zoom call)

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Persistence of the Transcript (Medium Factor)

  • Ephemeral (temporal messages, e.g., Snapchat)

  • Archived (permanent posts)

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Size of Message Channels of Communication (Medium Factor)

Amount of text converted, words, images, and sound

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Extended Self (Belk, 1988)

Viewing external objects that we own as part of ourselves (material goods become a part of our identity)

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Why do our possessions become personalized?

They act as memory markers: souvenirs, photos, and gifts

We use them as cues to show others who we are/want to be

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5 Ways to Extend Self in a Digital World

  1. Dematerialization

  2. Re-embodiment

  3. Sharing (of private life & possessions)

  4. Co-construction of Self

  5. Distributed Memory

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  • Converting to intangible and immaterial possessions (e.g., ‘Cloud‘)

  • New ‘virtual’ possessions

  • Sharing once-private possessions and interests digitally

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  • Presenting ourselves differently (more ‘attractive’) through online self-presentation (with avatars, Bitmojis, and edited photos/videos)

  • Experiment with different or multiple identities

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Sharing (of Private Life & Possessions)

  • Oversharing due to disinhibition (inhibitions are lower/eliminated online)

  • Toxic Disinhibition: Trolling and flaming

  • Determining something as ‘ours’ creates a sense of belonging to a group

  • Shared sense of space (third places like multiplayer online games)

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Co-Construction of Self

  • Self-image is increasingly shaped by our interactions with others

  • Seek affirmation in social media

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Distributed Memory

  • Online saving and archiving of memories

  • Memory is shared with others: collective memory

  • Digital clutter

  • Digital immortality/legacy (an immortal virtual self)

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FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

  • Fear of missing an interesting/fun social event

  • A danger of technology as an extension of our social lives: Constantly wanting to know what others are doing

  • A consequence of predominantly positive updates on social media: We are always confronted with what we DO NOT have and where we ARE NOT present

  • Causes: Relentlessness, dissatisfaction, and regret

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  • If you cannot live without your smartphone, because you want to monitor social media at all times

  • Common effects: others comment on your excessive mobile phone use (addiction?) and you may get annoyed or angry

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2 Kinds of Self-Presentation (Hogan, 2010)

  1. Performance: By actors (synchronous situations)

  2. Artefacts: Result of performances by actors (asynchronous exhibitions) → Social Media?

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Goffman’s Dramaturgical Approach (1959)

‘Life as a stage’


  • Demarcated setting

  • For a specific audience

  • Playing a specific role

  • Idealized instead of authentic

Front Stage vs. Back Stage

  • ‘Putting on a front’

  • ‘Conflict’: When fronts collide/when different versions of yourself collide

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Goffman’s Approach to Social Media + Critique

Goffman’s Approach: Facebook is a backstage = private messages just to friends

Critique: BUT private DOES NOT = backstage!

Facebook is a specific front stage for online content as performances

  • Audience is not clear

  • Can be watched at different a different time and when cyber performers are NOT present

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Hogan’s Exhibitional Approach: ‘Reproducible Artefacts’


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Hogan’s Exhibitional Approach: ‘Storehouses’


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Hogan’s Exhibitional Approach: ‘Curators’

  • Their role: Filter, order, and search

  • Like algorithms on social media that decide which posts to show to a certain audience

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True or False: Hogan’s Exhibitional Approach is always applicable.

False: It is not applicable to all social media like Wikis, online games, WhatsApp, etc.

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Difference between Exhibition Sites/Spaces and Offline Performances

Exhibition sites/spaces are:

  • Asynchronous

  • Limited control over audience

  • Broader definitions of ‘friends’

    • Collapsed context

    • Lowest common denominator

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Hogan’s Exhibitional Approach: ‘Filter Bubble’

Digital content is curated for the user

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Collapsed Context

Overlapping social circles of (family members, coworkers, actual friends, neighbors, acquaintances, etc.) in one space

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Lowest Common Denominator

Audience member(s) you would make yourself most aware of when presenting yourself online (i.e., inappropriate post for a boss or grandparent to see)

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Social Media

Communication through a network of participants where anyone can publish or share on these platforms

  • Internet-based sites and services that promote social interaction between participants

  • Delivers content via a network of participants where it can be published by anyone and still distributed across potentially large-scale audiences

  • Examples: Discussion forums, blogs, wikis, podcasts, social network sites, conent0sharing sites, apps, and virtual worlds

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Mass Media

  • Presented as a one-to-many broadcasting mechanism

  • Examples: TV, radio, newspaper

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Why is the historical/chronological context of the development of social media important?

It suggests the increasingly multinational nature of those interactions

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Difference between Web 1.0 and 2.0?

2.0 reflected an apparent shift towards web users as creators (rather than just consumers) of content

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What affordances does the online environment allow for self-presentation?

Asynchronicity & Anonymity

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“I can show my best qualities online”

Less clear self-concept + high social anxiety

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“I enjoy acting out different identities online”

Less clear self-concept + lower self-esteem + less self-monitoring

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“I feel my personality online is the real me”

Clearer self-concept + more self-monitoring

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“I prefer being online than offline”

Low self-esteem + high social anxiety + low self-monitoring

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Permanence (Affordance of Social Media)

  • Prolonged accessibility

  • Easy to locate (high visibility)

  • Elevated interactivity (high social interactivity)

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The collection of beliefs and attitudes of an individual about themself. While some aspects are stable, it remains malleable

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What do the affordances of social media facilitate?

Scanning and internalizing of presented behaviours. (Due to the interactive process between the self-concept and the self-presentation)

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The 2 Rival Theories (Choi et al., 2020)

Public Commitment Theory and Self-Symbolizing Theory

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Public Commitment Theory

  • Once individuals make a commitment, they feel pressured to be consistent with it.

  • Permanent self-presentation = stronger public commitment

  • Greater accessibility = perceived larger audience

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Self-Symbolizing Theory

  • Striving to acquire symbols of a desired self-concept and wanting them to be noticed by an audience

  • Audience = passive witness

  • Self-constructed self-presentation rather than a strategic self-presentation

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How is self-change driven?

By commitment to self-concept attainment with little consideration for the audience

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Choi et al.’s conclusion on “Ephemerality

Little concern for self-presentation and more authenticity

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Function of Algorithm

Sorts through online data to show users the content they are most likely to engage with

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How does TikTok algorithm work?

  1. Time spent per video

  2. User interactions (likes, comments, etc.)

  3. Creator quality

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The Networked Self

Self is performed through displays of social connection

Props = text, photo, video, etc.

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The Algorithmized Self

Engaging with one’s previous self-representations rather than one’s social connections. Self-making practices are sold and rendered into consumer profiles. These categories are then projected back onto the user → “algorithmic identity”.

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What is the Agency of the Algorithmized Self?


Users have NO role

The infrastructure is not merely a stage or a tool

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What is the Agency of the Networked Self?


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Advantages of an Algorithm

  • Users have agency over the algorithm

  • The algorithm ‘understands’ me”

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Disadvantages of an Algorithm

  • Too much of the same

  • Over-fitted

  • Feels weird

  • Echo chamber leads to confirmation bias

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Social Currency

Trends, memes, current events, cultural knowledge. The media content itself has a stronger role in self-making than social and networking processes (less about the user, and more about the content than the creator)

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Twitter vs. TikTok


  • Self-identification via content relevant for identity

  • Interactions such as liking, retweeting, blogging

  • Direct messaging used for sharing content

Compared to TikTok:

  • Twitter feed is mostly determined by who you are following

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YouTube & Instagram vs. TikTok

YouTube & Instagram:

  • Content is prioritized

  • Strong role of an algorithm

Comapred to TikTok

  • In content communities, social aspects require following others

  • Includes discussion of content via comments

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Facebook vs. TikTok


  • Possible to see the activities of others in your network

  • Can engage with others via messages, comments, and duets

Compared to TikTok:

  • Interactions are rarely used for intended purpose

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Selective Self-Presentation: Why is it important?

Present yourself favourably because: It increases your chances of a match/date

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Acceptable Misrepresentation Factors

  • Asynchronicity

  • Reduced cues

  • Shared contextual expectations

Online profile as a PROMISE

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Time to create ideal or possible future self (i.e., quit smoking)

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Reduced Cues

Foggy mirror (i.e., a once-body builder has fallen out of shape, but still puts ‘athletic’ in their profile)

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Shared Contextual Expectations

Context of dating sites/apps (i.e., ‘everyone looks different in person than online)

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13 Motives for using Dating Apps

  1. Entertainment/pass time

  2. Curiosity

  3. Socializing

  4. Love

  5. Ego boosting

  6. Distraction

  7. Flirting

  8. Peer pressure

  9. Travelling

  10. Casual sex

  11. Forgetting ex

  12. Belongingness

  13. LGBTQ+

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The Five Factor Model (FFM)/Big 5 Personality Traits

  1. Openness to experience

  2. Conscientiousness

  3. Extraversion

  4. Agreeableness

  5. Neuroticism (opposite of emotionally stable)

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Results of Timmermans & De Caluwé’s (2017) Tinder Study

  • Individual differences in singles can account for Tinder motives

  • Tinder users = more extraverted and open to new experiences than non-users

  • Non-users = more conscientious than Tinder users

  • No significant differences between agreeableness and neuroticism

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What makes TikTok different from other platforms?

  • Awareness of the algorithm

  • Content without context

  • Self-creation across (/in comparison to other) platforms

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Computer-mediated communication

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Intentionally presenting incorrect information OR omitting important information (goal: misleading to get a date)

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Extreme misleading, romantic scam

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Two Hypotheses of CMC on Friendship

Displacement Hypothesis & Stimulation Hypothesis

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Displacement Hypothesis

Substitute for real friendship

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Stimulation Hypothesis

Improve real friendships

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Characteristics of friendship vs. acquaintances?

  • Co-constructed

  • Reciprocity

  • Closeness

  • Intimacy

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Factors with Friendship Formation

  • Proximity/Propinquity: Physical or psychological

  • Homophily: People’s tendency to become friends with similar people

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Consequences of New Media for Friendship

  • Intimacy/closeness

  • Companionship of new media for friendship

  • Social support

  • Tangible support & protection

  • Exclusiveness

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Intimacy/Closeness (in New Media Friendship)

  • Fewer signals via CMC than face-to-face

  • ‘True self’, self-expression, self-disclosure

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Companionship (in New Media Friendship)

  • CMC is mostly ‘talking’

  • Shared activities are richer offline

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Social Support (in New Media Friendship)

  • More support possible via online channels

  • Friendships can start with a call for help/support

  • Forum communities

    • Subjects that are difficult to discuss

    • Offline - more difficult to find people experiencing same things/can understand you

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Tangible Support & Protection (in New Media Friendship)

  • Protection from conflicts can only be offered for cyberbullying

  • No material support online, but …

  • Financial support is easier to offer via online mobile banking + donations and crowdfunding

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Exclusiveness (in New Media Friendship)

  • Making time for each other is more difficult on social media

  • Exclusively sharing info is more difficult

  • Number of online friends and public interactions with them are visible on social media (cause jealousy)

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Consequences of New Media on Conflict in Friendship

  • Online messages are perceived more negatively

  • Lack of non-verbal and paralinguistic cues can cause misunderstandings and conflicts

  • Easier to terminate online friendships (stop responding, block, and unfriend)

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Characteristics of Bonding Social Capital

  • Strong ties

  • Exclusive

  • Group identity

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Characteristics of Bridging Social Capital

  • Weak ties

  • Inclusive

  • Information dissemination

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