Twitter issue response hashtags as affordances for momentary connectedness

Rathnayake, Chamil and Suthers, Daniel D. (2018) Twitter issue response hashtags as affordances for momentary connectedness. Social Media and Society.

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    Abstract

    Framing online collective behaviour within theoretical frameworks developed to describe offline phenomena is common in social media studies. This can limit the scope of analysis, because the interplay between user capabilities, intentions, and platform architecture makes online exchanges different from offline interaction. We introduce a novel conception of online publicness, momentary connectedness, which is a structure of polymorphic computer-mediated sociality that includes transactive as well as non-transactive phenomenological online activity. We suggest that Twitter issue-response hashtags can be seen as affordances for momentary connectedness where Tweets that display broad and vague audience dimensions, as well as clusters with different interactional orientations co-exist within the same topical network. We illustrate this polymorphism of momentary connectedness with a case study of an issue-response network.