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Facebook Interactions: An Ethnographic Perspective

Miller, D; Venkatraman, S; (2018) Facebook Interactions: An Ethnographic Perspective. Social Media and Society , 4 (3) 10.1177/2056305118784776. Green open access

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Abstract

This article starts with a consideration of the different reasons academics might be interested in the detailed analysis of who interacts with whom on a social media platform such as Facebook. We then describe our analysis of the levels of interaction between Facebook friends for two populations, one based in South England and the other in South India. We first used statistical data analysis to identify those who interacted most with our informants. We then exploited our ethnographic grounding to elucidate who exactly these interactions were with upon returning to our informants. This allows us to characterize the nature of interactivity in the two sites, for example, the role of kinship as against friendship. In general, we found that the explanation for interactivity in the English fieldsite tended to depend on identifying specific genres of communication for particular social relations, while the Indian fieldsite reflected strong social parameters such as gender and class. We also comment on a few of the many general issues that arise, including the relationship between online and offline sociality, the importance of both reciprocity and asymmetry in interactivity, and the question of whether people are aware of who interacts most with them on their Facebook profiles.

Type: Article
Title: Facebook Interactions: An Ethnographic Perspective
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/2056305118784776
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2056305118784776
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2018. Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: Facebook, interactions, ethnography, India, England
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10059594
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