Becoming a ‘Tweep’. Networks of affiliation and relational pressures on Twitter

Stine Lomborg

Abstract


The paper presents findings from a recent qualitative study about sociality and the self in network-based social media, as examined through a case study of ordinary Danes’ uses of Twitter. Drawing on Georg Simmel’s work on networks of affiliation, the paper investigates the collaborative process through which individual users’ expressions of self are negotiated in specific networks of affiliation on Twitter, demonstrating that these networks play a significant role in this process. The communicative affordances of Twitter, and the interactional and relational dynamics create a pressure towards the expression of a particular, restricted version of the individual user’s self. By enhancing certain aspects of the self and not other aspects, the user can connect to relevant others and become accepted and recognised in a network of affiliation. That is, the use can become ‘one of the Tweeps’.

Keywords


Twitter, networks of affiliation, relational pressures, Simmel, social media

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS612012548