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Situated Social Media Use: A Methodological Approach to Locating Social Media Practices and Trajectories

Conference paper
Authors Thomas Hillman
Alexandra Weilenmann
Published in Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
ISBN 978-1-4503-3145-6
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Publication year 2015
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Keywords ethnography, instagram, methodology, museum studies, social media, social photography, trajectories
Subject categories Human Aspects of ICT


In this paper we draw upon a number of explorations of social media activities, trying to capture and understand them as located, situated practices. This methodological endeavor spans over analyzing patterns in big data feeds (here Instagram) as well as small-scale video-based ethnographic studies of user activities. A situated social media perspective involves examining how social media production and consumption are intertwined. Drawing upon our studies of social media use in cultural institutions we show how visitors orient to their social media presence while attending to physical space during a visit, and how editing and sharing processes are formed by the trajectory through a space. We discuss the application and relevance of this approach for understanding social media and social photography in situ.

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