How people form folk theories of social media feeds and what it means for how we study self-presentation

Michael A. Devito, Jeremy Birnholtz, Jeffery T. Hancock, Megan French, Sunny Liu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Self-presentation is a process that is significantly complicated by the rise of algorithmic social media feeds, which obscure information about one's audience and environment. User understandings of these systems, and therefore user ability to adapt to them, are limited, and have recently been explored through the lens of folk theories. To date, little is understood of how these theories are formed, and how they tie to the self-presentation process in social media. This paper presents an exploratory look at the folk theory formation process and the interplay between folk theories and self-presentation via a 28-participant interview study. Results suggest that people draw from diverse sources of information when forming folk theories, and that folk theories are more complex, multifaceted and malleable than previously assumed. This highlights the need to integrate folk theories into both social media systems and theories of self-presentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2018 - Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationEngage with CHI
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450356206, 9781450356213
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2018
Event2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Apr 21 2018Apr 26 2018

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Volume2018-April

Other

Other2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018
CountryCanada
CityMontreal
Period4/21/184/26/18

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Keywords

  • Algorithm awareness
  • Algorithmic curation
  • Algorithms
  • Folk theories
  • Grounded theory
  • Social feeds
  • Social media
  • Theory formation
  • User understandings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

Cite this

Devito, M. A., Birnholtz, J., Hancock, J. T., French, M., & Liu, S. (2018). How people form folk theories of social media feeds and what it means for how we study self-presentation. In CHI 2018 - Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Engage with CHI (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings; Vol. 2018-April). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3173694