Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances


Liu, H.


Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Blackwell Publishing Limited, Volume 13, Number 1, p.252-275 (2007)





SOCIAL networks; INTEREST (Psychology); TELEVISION programs; MOTION pictures; MUSIC; GROUNDED theory


This study examines how a social network profile’s lists of interests—music, books, movies, television shows, etc.—can function as an expressive arena for taste performance. By composing interest tokens around a theme, profile users craft their “taste statements.” First, socioeconomic and aesthetic influences on taste are considered, and the expressivity of interest tokens is analyzed using a semiotic framework. Then, a grounded theory approach is taken to identify four types of taste statements—those that convey prestige, differentiation, authenticity, and theatrical persona. The semantics of taste and taste statements are further investigated through a statistical analysis of 127,477 profiles collected from the MySpace social network site between November 2006 and January 2007. The major findings of the analysis include statistical evidence for prestige and differentiation taste statements and an interpretation of the taste semantics underlying the MySpace community—its motifs, paradigms, and demographic structures. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR Copyright of Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication is the property of Blackwell Publishing Limited and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts)


ArticleAccession Number: 27940593; Liu, Hugo 1; Email Address:; Affiliations: 1: Media Laboratory and Program in Comparative Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Issue Info: Nov2007, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p252; Thesaurus Term: SOCIAL networks; Thesaurus Term: INTEREST (Psychology); Thesaurus Term: TELEVISION programs; Thesaurus Term: MOTION pictures; Thesaurus Term: MUSIC; Subject Term: GROUNDED theory; NAICS/Industry Codes: 512110 Motion Picture and Video Production; NAICS/Industry Codes: 624190 Other Individual and Family Services; Number of Pages: 24p; Illustrations: 3 charts, 1 diagram, 2 graphs, 2 maps; Document Type: Article