3) Profiling Theory
I was recently reading over a social-media theorist’s blog post in which he discusses the structure of interaction online, perspective shifts among users, and – what captured my attention – the theory he used to profile users on social media sites. This theorist named Adrian Chan stated that the majority of social media users fall into one of three categories. Firstly, those who are self-oriented, and who use social media as a mirror fall into the first category. The second category consists of those who are others-oriented, and who use social media as a surface on which to communicate. Lastly, people who use social media to create a feeling of “something always going on” and who use it as a window are considered relationship-oriented. He argues that social media outlets which fail to accommodate all three types of users also fail to stay or become successful. He says this is vital to understanding social media interactions because social media “not only captures action and communication, but also creates representations of the self.” He also states that relations and not merely relationships better help us us understand media theories through explaining psychological modes of identity and identification online. Check out his entire post titled, “The Theory Between Social Interaction Design” right here: http://johnnyholland.org/2011/04/the-theory-behind-social-interaction-design. On a side note, I thought merely three categories was not enough to encompass all social media users, and his theory lacked a category that covered users whose intentions were not for self projection, communication with others, or for feelings of involved-ness.