Devices and Technology: How the Way in Which We Access Social Media Affects Our Experiences, Uses, and Identities
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Beyond looking at the platforms themselves, when considering how social media is shaping our experiences and interactions online and offline, there is also a need to consider the devices through which we access these platforms. This chapter provides a look at how technology can change our actions and interactions and highlights the need to move beyond thinking of social media as a unified experience across different devices. A social media platform may look, feel, and act differently based on the devices we are accessing it on, in turn affecting our experiences of these platforms. Rather than treating a platform as a uniform experience, this chapter highlights the need to consider how we are accessing and experiencing these platforms and which features may be excluded, included, emphasised, or minimised due to the devices we access them on.
We begin with an exploration of a history of technology shaping our experiences and interactions, online and offline. This discussion highlights not only how technology shapes our experiences but also how technology is not neutral and is not experienced in the same way by all users. Issues of race, gender, sexuality, and other socio-cultural resources permeate our experiences with technology. Building from this discussion, this chapter presents data from a year-long series of interviews with young people to explore how technology shaped their social experiences and their use of social media platforms and how their engagement with technology is crucially socio-culturally grounded. This includes one participant who moved from a joint family computer to a mobile phone, a move which impacted how and why she utilised social media in complex ways.
KeywordsGPS Technology Social media Mobile phone Family computer
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