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Friday, October 12 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
When Contexts Collapse: Audiences, affordances and affective relations

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The concept of ‘context collapse’ (Marwick and boyd, 2011) has, and continues to be, valuable for understanding how users of social media negotiate either imagined or actual audiences from various peer groups. The papers in this panel explore context collapse (and its management) across different platforms and as performed by different user-groups including beauty vloggers, DIY musicians, youth workers and young LGBT+ people. Presenting a range of empirical research, this panel seeks to generate debate around the socio-political negotiations involved, the role played by platform-specific architecture and affordances, and affective and strategic negotiations of gender, classed, raced identities as they intersect with technology. In keeping with the theme of this year’s conference, this panel proposes a broadening of the term context collapse to encompass the temporal dimensions of this phenomenon as it is lived and negotiated across material and social dimensions of everyday life. In all four papers, our research participants share a feeling of being “caught” between contexts — between authenticity and brand-building; between friendship and professionalism; between the safety of the “echo chamber” and danger of the outside; between public activist identities and the wider audiences afforded by social media platforms. In this way, then, context collapse can be considered in dialectical terms — a site of tension in which practitioners attempt to stay beholden to two (or more) conflicting and necessary sets of interests. Platforms both mediate and generate these difficulties, as well as offering potential approaches for their mitigation.

Friday October 12, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5