Youth and intimate media cultures: Gender, sexuality, relationships, and desire as storytelling practices in social networking sites

  • De Ridder S
  • Van Bauwel S
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This paper investigates how young people give meaning to gender, sexuality, relationships, and desire in the popular social networking site (SNS) Netlog. In arguing how SNSs are important spaces for intimate politics, the extent to which Netlog is a space that allows contestations of intimate stories and a voicing of difference is questioned. These intimate stories should be understood as self-representational media practices; young people make sense of their intimate stories in SNSs through media cultures. Media cultures reflect how audiences and SNS institutions make sense of intimacy. This paper concludes that intimate stories as media practices in the SNS Netlog are structured around creativity, anonymity, authenticity, performativity, bricolage and intertextuality. The intimate storytelling practices focusing on creativity, anonymity, bricolage and intertextuality are particularly significant for a diversity of intimacies to proliferate.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Social networking sites
  • Youth
  • anonymity
  • authenticity
  • intimacy
  • media culture
  • popular culture
  • self-representations

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  • Sander De Ridder

  • Sofie Van Bauwel

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