Relational work in multimodal networked interactions on Facebook
The paper argues that the notion of Relational Work (Locher and Watts 2005) needs to be expanded to be able to account for sociability in the networked interactions afforded by social platforms such as Facebook. Thus, the aim of this paper is to explore how the nature of networked interactions impacts the emergence of relational practices therein. Importantly, Relational Work is a language based framework whereas networked interactions are highly multimodal. By applying Norris’ (2004) multimodal framework to the analysis of a Facebook wall event, we show how key sociability functions are carried out by semiotic modes other than language. Furthermore, the analysis shows how relational behaviors (such as politeness, impoliteness, etc.) are highly intertwined and should not be compartmentalized, as has traditionally been the case.
Keywords: Relational Work, multimodality, networked interactions, Facebook, im/politeness
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