In this paper, we focus on the social and the material aspects of social media practices that emerge through everyday use of a variety of social media platforms. We draw on the theory of affordances, and through a qualitative study (N=56), we identify two user orientations that operate under different affordances. The emotional orientation leads users to focus on the symbolic meaning behind social media actions and to make emotionally driven decisions about how they use various features. In contrast, a rational orientation is driven by functional considerations. We show how users operating under different orientations lead to conflicts and misunderstandings about the meaning and consequences of using the same material features. We also uncover a connection between orientations, behavior, and age. This work takes an initial step towards understanding and reconciling the conflicts arising from different affordances.
Page, Xinru and Marabelli, Marco, "Orientations that Drive Social Media Behavior: Emotional versus Rational Affordances" (2018). SIGHCI 2018 Proceedings. 10.