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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.

M.A. Devito
J. Birnholtz
J.T. Hancock
Proceedings of the ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2017), 740-754
Publication Date
February 25, 2018