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UAL Research Online

Reading Facebook Newsfeed as Cross-Media: Implications for Journalism

Pavlíčková, Tereza and Mathieu, David (2016) Reading Facebook Newsfeed as Cross-Media: Implications for Journalism. In: ECREA 2016 6th European Communication Conference, 12-15 November 2016, Prague, Czech Republic.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Pavlíčková, Tereza and Mathieu, David

Audiences do not only consume a variety of narratives, genres and sources through their use of diverse media, but can also turn to a mainstream social media, Facebook, to be exposed to such variety. Thus, cross‑media uses can also be explored empirically as a single “act of reading” ‑ or consulting ‑ Facebook’s newsfeed. While research has paid attention to the implied reader that follows from Facebook affordances and algorithms (e.g. Van Dijck, 2013), the complexity involved in using Facebook has seldom been studied through users’ empirical readings. The investigation at the basis of this paper relies on the classic methodology of reception analysis, with the novelty that the users’ reading process is explored via a commented consultation of their Facebook newsfeed (Gallant et al., 2015). Inspired by the text‑reader metaphor, this paper investigates how Facebook users organise their reading of the newsfeed, given its cross‑mediated character. Are Facebook users at ease with the seeming complexity of the newsfeed? Do they embrace the diversity of content? Do they lean on contextual strategies to organise their experience or do they rely on Facebook’s own organisation and presentation of content (which makes a presumption of personal relevance to the individual user)? Our findings suggest that Facebook users invest considerable effort to assemble a coherent reading experience, but its realisation differs substantially. Some users play along with Facebook features and affordances in order to tame the quantity and quality of their newsfeed. This reading seems to result in the realisation of the horizon of personal relevance presumed by Facebook, but the resulting experience is redundant to forms of mediation already found in everyday life. A contrasting reading consists in keeping the newsfeed as open as possible, not relying upon and even being suspicious towards Facebook apparatus and claims to personalisation. This strategy seems to result in a conception of the newsfeed as a public space, from which one selects relevant content in a particular reading situation, as one does for a newspaper. These users seem to use Facebook as a media for “public connection” (Couldry et al., 2007), which typically involves a high consumption of news and other forms of remote mediations. These findings have implications for how news providers may use Facebook as a platform for dissemination. Attempts to control users’ news diet seem to run contrary to the idea of openness and publicness that users associate with the consumption of news. Facebook’s ambitions to articulate an era of social connectivity may result in personal relevance that is not much different than existing and ingrained forms of mediation of everyday life. Conversely, attempts of Facebook to expand the realm of everyday life towards more remote mediations or towards publicness seem to be challenged by its own apparatus.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 14 November 2016
Event Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2023 16:26
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 16:26
Item ID: 20775
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/20775

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