Reasons and mediators in the development and communication of personal digital stories


The expansion of access to devices, as well as the production and publication options in social networks requires a broader definition of the traditional notion of personal digital storytelling. To get a deeper understanding of these practices in the group of adolescents, the objective of this article is to analyze what are the reasons that direct the publications of personal stories and what kind of filters, agents and consequences are articulated in these stories. To do this, the most qualitative part of an investigation on teenagers’ internet publication guidelines is synthesized. Specifically, the results of a semi-structured interview with 12 adolescents between 12 and 20 years are shown. The answers show that the interviewees’ perspective on what a digital story is goes beyond the format and varies depending on the network where it is published and the type of content. Thus, the emphasis and motivation of the publication has shifted from the digital - which has been incorporated with something normal and not differential - towards the personal, focusing the publications on the daily life of young people. An extension and refinement of the public-private dichotomy has been identified, maintaining general privacy guidelines above the dissemination of publications. As for filters, publications are preceded by the widespread use of image modification tools. Finally, the answers show the influence of personal agents, mostly friends and brothers, and technology agents, which determine the relationship between the type of story and the network where it is published.

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This study is being conducted with the EDU2016-76726-P project and the PID2019-108924GB-I00/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 project, both funded by Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the government of Spain.

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Correspondence to Núria Molas-Castells.

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Semi-structured interview


Checking over your answers to the questionnaire, we’ve seen that you use social networks.

  1. 1.

    Since when (or for how long) have you been using social networks?

  2. 2.

    Which social networks do you use the most or are most active in? Which one or ones do you prefer?

  3. 3.

    Why do you use the internet and social networks?

  4. 4.

    What to you usually do in each of these networks? (posting, etc.)

  5. 5.

    Have you changed what you do over the years? How do you see what you used to post in comparison with what you post now?

  6. 6.

    What would you like to post in the future?

  7. 7.

    Why do you enjoy creating and posting content in your social networks?


  1. 8.

    As we have seen in your answers, you create and post different types of content in your social networks. Let’s talk about them:

  2. 9.

    What type of content do you like creating and posting in your networks? Give me some examples.

  3. 10.

    Does how you post depend on the type of content and the specific social network?

  4. 11.

    Do you feel that this content can be classified as stories? Why?

  5. 12.

    What are you favourite issues when it comes to posting stories or content? (Broaden the question depending on the type of content that they tick. For example: “You said you like to create content about your environment. About what specifically?”)

    1. a.

      Is there any content that you would never post? Why? (violence, offensive content, family-related issues, etc.)

    2. b.

      If you post about personal issues, where do you draw the line on the most personal issues?

    3. c.

      If we were to look at the ten most recent posts of your profile, would you recognise yourself in them?

    4. d.

      What part of yourself do you tend to share?

  6. 13.

    Who would you like your content or stories to be read by or seen by?

  7. 14.

    Why or for what purpose do you publish your stories or content? What impact do you expect from your posts?


  1. 15.

    In the interviews in Catalonia: what language do you post in?

  2. 16.

    In the questionnaire you specified where and when you tend to post.

    1. a.

      Do you usually do your posting alone or accompanied?

    2. b.

      Why do you mainly post in the (morning/afternoon/evening)? (depending on answer)

  3. 17.

    There are all sorts of ways of posting. Some people post spontaneously while others mull over what they’re going to say. What do you think about these two approaches? Which profile do you fit into?

  4. 18.

    If you mull over your posts: can you describe the process of preparing content? Do you discuss your intended post with someone before posting?

  5. 19.

    What type of, or what specific, programmes or applications do you use to create your posts? Do you use them on your phone or on your computer?

  6. 20.

    What elements do you add to your contents? (videos, texts, hashtags, emojis, etc.)

  7. 21.

    Once you’ve shared a story, what trajectory do your posts have? In other words; do you review and reflect on what you’ve posted?

  8. 22.

    Have you ever erased a post or certain content after posting it? If so, why did you do it?

  9. 23.

    As regards your friends’ posts, do you comment on or share what they post?

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Rodríguez-Illera, J.L., Barberà Gregori, E. & Molas-Castells, N. Reasons and mediators in the development and communication of personal digital stories. Educ Inf Technol (2021).

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  • Personal storytelling
  • Posting in social networks
  • Teenagers communication