Social media platforms such as Facebook have been understood to present new possibilities for interaction. Yet, there have been concerns surrounding the reducing quality of our interaction and conversation. Such debates, however, have not considered the pre-post dimension of online environments: that is, the preparatory work that occurs to online posts before they are shared with their audience. Based on real-time recordings of Facebook Messenger interactions, this article asks what the pre-post perspective tells us about the quality of our interactions online. The analysis is theoretically informed by Goffman and methodologically by conversation analysis and addresses this question with a specific focus on processes of identity construction and face. In presenting innovative screen capture data, this article argues against claims that our interaction online is declining in quality instead showing the ways users perfect their online posts by elaborating a new stage of online communication: the ‘rehearsal’ stage.
Ditchfield, H. (2020). Behind the screen of Facebook: Identity construction in the rehearsal stage of online interaction. New Media and Society, 22(6), 927–943. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444819873644