Systèmes d'Information et Management


The enthusiasm for social network sites (or socio-digital networks) is associated with the wide variety of uses and purposes which demonstrates the huge flexibility of the in-built management tools. With more than a billion active users each month, Facebook is an especially interesting case for analysing how digital social media platforms are appropriated. What exactly are the forms of appropriation of social networks sites? How do the platforms manage these forms of appropriation? From a secondary analysis of qualitative data from two research projects, a variety of cases of appropriation are analysed through the development of an original theoretical framework combining the approaches of Akrich (1998) and de Certeau (1990). The first approach identifies and describes the types of appropriation made by users. The second highlights what forms are encouraged, tolerated or prohibited by the platforms. The balance of power between users and devices are proven through their tactical or strategic positions. The profile of appropriation management is well defined by identifying five « arts of framing » the appropriation, which correspond to the « arts de faire » with the users’ appropriation. This research is part of a socio-political perspective on IS appropriation and contributes to the theory of IS appropriation management. Far from designating the user as all-powerful or celebrating the empowerment of users, it highlights that appropriation is in fact a power struggle, largely in favour of the devices, in the case of social networks sites.