Essay On Social Affordances

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Thus far, this chapter has demonstrated that people’s decisions about which SNSs to use were largely influence by individual perceptions and interpretations of social affordances, which are perceptual cues in the socio-technical environment that enable social action. Based on the themes that emerged from the interviews, there is strong support in the data to make the following observation: social media choice cannot be said to be simply an outcome of the objective qualities of the platform. Nor can we say that it is primarily determined by network effects; it is much more about the perceptible differences of imagined affordances and the deeply subjective social media experiences that users might associate with them. Even though SNSs are …show more content…

The borderlessness of gratifications allows people to adopt and use SNSs in ways that make sense for them personally, i.e. based on idiosyncratic considerations and as a function of the perceived interrelatedness of affordances of available sites. Even though gratification structures that arise from the use of multiple SNSs are merely imagined, it is posited that they are not arbitrary. As Nagy and Neff (2015, p.6) note: “The perceptions of affordances are as much socially constructed for users as they are technologically configured.” This rationale explains why there were so many common themes and shared perceptions among interview participants about the gratifications of each site, despite the many possible interpretations of SNS affordances. By way of example, Facebook was overwhelmingly seen as a social space, while Twitter was overwhelmingly seen as an informational space. As has been argued previously, user perceptions are grounded in the socio-technological realities of SNSs and their perceptual cues, which are both socially and technologically configured. This is what creates shared beliefs, interpretations and similarities in SNS use patterns. On a related note, this finding reinforces a previously expressed argument that it is not enough to calculate absolute user numbers to estimate whether a site has reached critical mass. Rather, perceptions of critical mass are mediated through socially constructed

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