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


  • Marco Pedroni Università Cattolica of Milan / Università degli Studi of Bergamo, Italy
  • Francesca Pasquali Università degli Studi of Bergamo, Italy
  • Simone Carlo Università Cattolica of Milan, Italy




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


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).

Author Biography

Marco Pedroni, Università Cattolica of Milan / Università degli Studi of Bergamo, Italy

Ph.D. in Sociology and social research methodology. Formerly a Research Fellow and an Adjunct Professor of Sociology of Culture at the University of Bergamo (Italy) and an Adjunct Professor of Communication Theory and Sociology at the Politecnico of Milan, I am currently a Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Sociology of Culture at the Università Cattolica of Milan, where I am also part of the Centre for the Study of Fashion and Cultural Production (ModaCult). I am currently working on the role of identity and storytelling in the social media, on the themes of sharing and the collaborative economy, and on the cultural industries such as fashion and gambling. I've taught as a Guest Lecturer for several courses and institutions, including the London College of Fashion, the Milano Fashion Institute and the Marangoni Institute. I am the Editorial Assistant of the forthcoming International Journal of Fashion Studies, published by Intellect Books, with the first issue scheduled for Spring 2014. I'm the author of Coolhunting (2010) and a co-editor of Moda e arte (Fashion and Art, 2012). My most recent book is From Production to Consumption: The Cultural Industry of Fashion (Interdisciplinary, 2013).




How to Cite

Pedroni, M., Pasquali, F., & Carlo, S. (2014). «My Friends are my Audience»: Mass-mediation of Personal Content and Relations in Facebook. Observatorio (OBS*), 8(3). https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS832014739