A New Women’s Work: Digital Interactions, Gender, and Social Network Sites

Angela M. Cirucci


This research explores social network site interaction through digital and gendered labor. Due to enhanced interaction possibilities as well as mining and analytic techniques, all digital interaction is labor, at both the social and institutional level. Responses to a survey (N = 455) suggest that digital labor varies depending on the most-used social network site. In addition, women test higher in agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism, and contribute statistically more emotional labor online through liking and commenting. Women describe intricate processes of deciding whether they can or should socially interact, often fearing interpersonal conflict or being told they are stupid. Men, on the other hand, view social network sites as places for entertainment and base their emotional labor on some judged entertainment value. As such, this study illuminates how social network sites function as extensions of the home. Instead of being invited to contribute new cultural products, women are frequently led to support only those that already exist, arguably creating data that contain less use value and even more exchange and surplus value than other forms of digital labor.


digital labor, emotional labor, gender, social media, social network sites, women’s work

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