Facebook as a third author—(semi-)automated participation framework in social network sites.

"Questioning the transparent construction of emerging Web 2.0 discourse communities, this article asks in what ways structural options and restrictions of the software service ‘Facebook’ offer new semiotic resources and set up (novel) conditions for participation. More specifically, it holds that the medium in use and the particular software service acts as a kind of third author: The electronic environment and its functional properties facilitate and delimit a variety of discourse patterns and thus intervene in the communication between profile owner and profile recipients.

To assess the impact of the electronic environment on user participation within Facebook, the present article will first introduce the notion of (technological) affordances and discuss characteristic ‘action possibilities’ that are typically offered by Social Network Sites. It will then give background information on general features of participation in online environments and identify key functions of the Facebook environment. On the basis of these findings, the article will discuss how Facebook's communicative properties enable and constrain textual practices and social interaction (functional affordances). Data from actual Facebook members give weight to how individuals adapt in different ways to software-biased action possibilities (relational affordances)."

Media Literacy Research Index

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