Cultura Social Media

I share, therefore I am

Today “sharing” information, moods, images and personal data in a digital format has become a regular practice among Internet users. But, why we are doing this?

The emergence of the web 2.0 marks a breakthrough in the development of the Internet as a communication technology. This is primarily because it offers the possibility to create and distribute content on a large scale, blurring the distinctions between producers and consumers (Jenkins 2008; Jenkins et al 2012). In this context, “sharing” information, moods, images and personal data in a digital format has become a regular practice among Internet users. John (2013) suggests that the concept of sharing – in the way we understand it today – goes hand in hand with the emergence and growth of the web 2.0.

Recent studies show that gender and socioeconomic differences impact on the generation and sharing of online content (Hargittai and Walejko 2004). However, little research has been done on the practices, discourses and imaginaries of people about sharing in the digital age. Why do we share content on Facebook? What are the motivations that leads us to share content with other people? How do we communicate on Facebook?

Analyse the practices and discourses of Facebook users to describe:

  • The motivations and practices of sharing information;
  • The outcomes of these practices, specifically the retribution and expectations involved, as well as these actors’ world views that circulate on Facebook; and
  • How these motivations relate to definitions of sharing (as an economic form, a communication form, and/or a way to deepen social relations).

Through a qualitative and ethnographic approach; this research proposes to study people’ practices and discourses about sharing information and content on Facebook. The study aims to address the role that digital technologies play in the way that individuals share and describe what they share on different digital platforms. 

The hypothesis is that sharing on Facebook is a communication form that allows us to reinforce social relations and different aspects of our identity. To address these assumptions, we analyse the practices and discourses on Facebook of 25 youngsters between the ages of 15 and 29 through interviews and participant observation for a year.

Arturo Arriagada
Principal investigator

Sociologist, PhD in Sociology (2014) and MSc in Media and Communications (2009) from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Associate Professor in the School of Journalism at Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, where he teaches and conducts research on digital communication, cultural industries and social research methods. His research has been funded by Chile’s National Science Comission (CONICYT) and Chile’s National Music Fund (FONDART), amongst other institutions. 

He has published three books in Spanish: “El mundo en mi mano: la revolución de los datos móviles” (“The world in my hand: mobile data revolution”) in 2016; “Diario de Vida de las Audiencias Chilenas” (A Diary of Chilean Audiences”) in 2015; and “Intermedios: medios de comunicación y democracia en Chile” (“Intermedia: media and democracy in Chile”) in 2013. His publications are available at Academia.  

Fernanda Cancino
Research assistant

Sociologist, Universidad Diego Portales. She has been research assistant in Fondecyt projects and teaching assistant in qualitative methodology courses.

Francisco Astudillo
Research Assistant

Sociologist, specialised on Internet and digital communication studies. Diploma in advanced techniques for statistical data analysis, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.