Platforms, People, and Perception: Using Affordances to Understand Self-Presentation on Social Media
The popularity of social media platforms today makes them an important venue for self-presentation, but the unique affordances of these platforms challenge our existing models for understanding self-presentation behavior. In particular, social media provide multiple platforms on which the self may be presented, expand the role other individuals can play in one’s own self-presentation, and expand the audience while often simultaneously providing less information about who is in that audience. This paper presents an affordance-based approach to self-presentation on social media platforms rooted in these three challenges and presents a systematic taxonomy for considering aspects of platforms that affect self-presentation. Results from an exploratory study of 193 users suggest significant variation in user perception of our proposed affordances across social media platforms, participant experience levels, and participant personality traits.