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Just What Is Social in Social Media?
An Actor-Network Critique
of Twitter Agency and Assumptions
Jeffrey M. Keefer
New Yor...
Social media includes applications . . .
@JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
but the focus is commonly
on the presentation or actions of users . . .
@JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
. . . networks created on the platforms . . .
@JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
. . . and what we do
to promote our WIIFMs
(What’s In It For Me).
@JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
@JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
It is less studied from
the perspective of the
networks, especially the
influence and role of
...
@JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
Through this inverted
perspective much may be
learned, especially involving
assumptions about ...
It is this social aspect of social media where
actor-network theory can be usefully employed,
as the agency of things may ...
In ANT, fixed realities
do not exist: multiple
actants (human and
nonhuman) constantly
interact in layers of
connections.
...
@JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
Resistance and negotiation lead to messy networks.
Even when things “resolve,” it only happens...
Nothing is permanent, even though we
frequently see various enactments of
repeated processes as stable . . .
. . . and as ...
What assumptions do we black box with
social media research and practice?
@JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
This theoretical study explores a seven-part
framework (Kietzmann, Hermkens,
McCarthy, & Silvestre, 2011) of social media
...
The honeycomb of social media
User
experience
Implications for
organizations
@JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
Actor-network theory focuses on
continuously generated networks, webs of
relations, where power can reside within
any acto...
Let’s partner with the elements in social media
to better understand the “impacts of digital
engagements on processes of k...
Twitter, with its seeming simplicity, will be
the focus of this 7-part actor-network
inquiry—specifically the #SMSociety15...
Twitter: #SMSociety15
Applications
Users
Networks
WIIFMs
Identity
Conversations
Sharing
Presence
Relationships
Reputation
...
Next Steps:
1. Social Media studies often include
the elements, but not the complex
effects, of non-human actor agency.
2....
Just What Is Social in Social Media?
An Actor-Network Critique
of Twitter Agency and Assumptions
Jeffrey M. Keefer
New Yor...
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Just What Is Social in Social Media? An Actor-Network Critique of Twitter Agency and Assumptions

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These are the slides I presented at the #SMSociety15 conference https://smsociety15.sched.org/event/84f2409561cd92c5cc1fc5b8b01558f9

While social media includes the applications that support the creation and exchange of user generated and participatory content (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010), the focus is commonly on the presentation or actions of users, the networks created on the platforms, and what we can do to promote our various WIIFMs (What’s In It For Me). It is less studied from the perspective of the networks themselves, especially through the influence and role of the non-human elements. Through this inverted perspective much may be learned, especially involving simple assumptions about the role of agency, namely the power to act (Latour, 2013). It is this social aspect of social media where actor-network theory can be most usefully employed, as the agency of things themselves may frequently be overlooked (Adams & Thompson, 2011) when rushing to understand the black box of assumptions present in social media research and practice.

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Just What Is Social in Social Media? An Actor-Network Critique of Twitter Agency and Assumptions

  1. 1. Just What Is Social in Social Media? An Actor-Network Critique of Twitter Agency and Assumptions Jeffrey M. Keefer New York University & Pace University Social Media & Society 2015 International Conference July 27-29, 2015 Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University Toronto, Ontario, Canada @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  2. 2. Social media includes applications . . . @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  3. 3. but the focus is commonly on the presentation or actions of users . . . @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  4. 4. . . . networks created on the platforms . . . @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  5. 5. . . . and what we do to promote our WIIFMs (What’s In It For Me). @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  6. 6. @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15 It is less studied from the perspective of the networks, especially the influence and role of the nonhuman elements.
  7. 7. @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15 Through this inverted perspective much may be learned, especially involving assumptions about agency (Latour, 2013).
  8. 8. It is this social aspect of social media where actor-network theory can be usefully employed, as the agency of things may frequently be overlooked (Adams & Thompson, 2011). @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  9. 9. In ANT, fixed realities do not exist: multiple actants (human and nonhuman) constantly interact in layers of connections. @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  10. 10. @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15 Resistance and negotiation lead to messy networks. Even when things “resolve,” it only happens while the actants maintain their stabilized relationships.
  11. 11. Nothing is permanent, even though we frequently see various enactments of repeated processes as stable . . . . . . and as a result “black box” them and assume they will always work in that way. @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  12. 12. What assumptions do we black box with social media research and practice? @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  13. 13. This theoretical study explores a seven-part framework (Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy, & Silvestre, 2011) of social media —identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups— through the lens of actor-network theory (ANT). @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  14. 14. The honeycomb of social media User experience Implications for organizations @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  15. 15. Actor-network theory focuses on continuously generated networks, webs of relations, where power can reside within any actor—any person, place, or thing—that continuously participates in the connections (Callon, 1986; Latour, 2007; Law, 2008). @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  16. 16. Let’s partner with the elements in social media to better understand the “impacts of digital engagements on processes of knowledge- making and interacting” (Fenwick, 2014, p. 2) and seek to answer the question: @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15 Just what is social in social media?
  17. 17. Twitter, with its seeming simplicity, will be the focus of this 7-part actor-network inquiry—specifically the #SMSociety15 tag. @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  18. 18. Twitter: #SMSociety15 Applications Users Networks WIIFMs Identity Conversations Sharing Presence Relationships Reputation Groups #SMSociety15 @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  19. 19. Next Steps: 1. Social Media studies often include the elements, but not the complex effects, of non-human actor agency. 2. Tags used vs. Tags as users? 3. How can we reconceive social when non-human actors exert agency? @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15
  20. 20. Just What Is Social in Social Media? An Actor-Network Critique of Twitter Agency and Assumptions Jeffrey M. Keefer New York University & Pace University Social Media & Society 2015 International Conference July 27-29, 2015 Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University Toronto, Ontario, Canada @JeffreyKeefer #SMSociety15

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