Social Media Natives' Invisible Online Spaces: Proposing the Concept of Digital Gemeinschaft 2.0
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSalte, L. (2022) Social Media Natives' Invisible Online Spaces: Proposing the Concept of Digital Gemeinschaft 2.0. Social Media + Society, 8(3) 10.1177/20563051221113076
This study proposes the concept of “digital Gemeinschaft 2.0,” through examining Rich Ling’s employment of Ferdinand Tönnies’ Gesellschaft (market society) and Gemeinschaft (fellowship), when conceptualizing the “digital Gemeinschaft.” Drawing on 11 in-depth interviews with social media natives in Norway, it identifies three recurring themes, reflecting (1) a Gesellschaft attentiveness, (2) continued Gemeinschaft, with occasional public orientations, and (3) information gathering and learning without direct public partaking. This study emphasizes social media natives’ utilization of social media for maintaining social relationships through an active negotiation and construction of space. A continuous attentiveness to social space is connected to features of Gesellschaft in social media: the utilization of people’s data traces for economic purposes. The social media natives’ online activities are still tied to the market rationales of social media corporations, however, as platforms both facilitate and profit from their practices. The digital Gemeinschaft 2.0 concept hence highlights a continued tension between Gesellschaft and digital Gemeinschaft in social media as both medium and (social and public) space.