«My Friends are my Audience»: Mass-mediation of Personal Content and Relations in Facebook

Marco Pedroni, Francesca Pasquali, Simone Carlo


Facebook identity management implies a selective front and backstage: users perform multiple social roles for a multiple spectator audience (boyd 2008). But as friend lists increase and the discussion about sensitive topics becomes more critical, people tend to protect their image by dealing only with content that may be interesting to all their contacts (Hogan, 2010).
Starting from field research on Italian users (40 in-depth interviews with Facebook users aged 14-55), this paper discusses the idea of Facebook as a place where people are engaged in building their social relations and their self-representation by managing their online presence in a way that can be both intriguing and acceptable for most of their contacts.
The paper will highlight the strategies of content homogenization and the online behavior adopted by users according to their perceptions of their «imagined audience» (Litt, 2012).
The article aims at underlining that Facebook use is surprisingly consistent with mass-media and generalist-media cultural models: users seem to apply models of television spectatoriality, not only in terms of passivity (lurking), but also in terms of consumption (skipping uninteresting content) and content production performed for a generalist audience (developing a distinctive and acceptable style of interaction).


social networks; imagined audience; online identity management; self-representation; online content selection

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS832014739