Data literacies for the postdemographic social media self

Anthony McCosker


In a postdemographic world, characterized by the continuous production and calculation of social data in the form of likes, comments, shares, keywords, locations or hashtags, social media platforms are designed with techniques of market segmentation in mind. “Datafication” challenges the agency of participatory social media practices and traditional accounts of the presentation of self in the use of social media. In the process, a tension or paradox arises between the personal, curative or performative character of social media practices and the calculative design and commercial usefulness of platforms and apps. In this paper I interrogate this paradox, and explore the potential role of metrics and analytics for emergent data literacies. By drawing together common self-oriented metrics across dominant platforms, the paper emphasizes analytics targets around a) profile, b) activity, c) interactivity and d) visibility, as a step toward developing new data literacies.


metrics; analytics; self-presentation; postdemographics; social media; identity

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