Who Do They Think They’re Talking To? Framings of the Audience by Social Media Users
This article examines the understandings and meanings of personal information sharing online using a predominantly symbolic interactionist analytic perspective and focusing on writers’ conceptions of their relationships with their audiences. It draws on an analysis of in-depth interviews with 23 personal bloggers. They were found to have limited interest in gathering information about their audiences, appearing to assume that readers are sympathetic. A comprehensive and grounded typology of imagined relationships with audiences was devised. Although their blogs were all public, some interviewees appeared to frame their blogging practice as primarily self-directed, with their potential audiences playing a marginal role. These factors provide one explanation for some forms of potentially risky self-exposure observed among social media users.