chapter  12
19 Pages

Toward a new(er) sociability: uses, gratifications, and social capital on Facebook

ByZIZI PAPACHARISSI, ANDREW MENDELSON

Emerging convergent platforms of sociality online generate public interest and invite a reconsideration of traditional theoretical paradigms of media research. Social network sites, specifically, afford a variety of social behaviours that simultaneously expand and challenge our conventional understanding of sociability, audience activity, passivity and involvement. Online platforms such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, or CyWorld and others provide individuals with the opportunity to present themselves and to connect with existing and new social networks. These networked platforms of socially oriented activity permit an introduction of the self via public displays of connection (boyd and Ellison, 2007; Donath and boyd, 2004; Papacharissi, 2002a, 2002b, 2009). In doing so, they promote multimediated identity-driven performances that are crafted around the electronic mediation of social circles and status. In addition, they provide flexible and personalizable modes of sociability, which allow individuals to sustain strong and weak ties through a variety of online tools and strategies (Ellison et al., 2010). These customized expressions of online sociability allow users to pursue social behaviours through variable levels of involvement, activity, and multi-tasking (Hargittai and Hsieh, 2010; Papacharissi, 2010).