chapter  7
16 Pages

Textuality and visuality in MySpace communication

ByLEWIS GOODINGS, STEVEN D. BROWN

Introduction This chapter describes communicative practices amongst users of the social network site (SNS) MySpace. MySpace is one of a growing number of online sites where users are able to connect through a number of activities that have been popular in the wider use of Internet-based communication (e.g. blogging, photo sharing, status updates). In MySpace these activities are co-located in one place – the profile. We are concerned here with the manner in which the visual ‘look’ and content of individual profiles assists in preparing the way or clearing the ground for communication between users. Drawing on Baudrillard we refer to this preparatory act as ‘urcommunication’. This is dominated by the phatic function of signalling one’s availability for communication (see Malinowski, 1923). In exploring urcommunicative practices we hope to show how the visual and the textual become intertwined as essential supports for one another.