The Dilemma of Closeness and Distance: A Discursive Analysis of Wall Posting in MySpace

Lewis Goodings


MySpace is an online social network site (SNS) where users regularly communicate via a particular part of the profile page known as "the wall". This article uses a discursive approach to study the construction of identity in communication on the wall. The analysis shows that wall communication constitutes a set of relational positions that need to be discursively organised in order to manage the presence of a mediated community of other MySpace users. Drawing on the work of Celia LURY, the paper explores this issue in terms of a set of practices for managing the dilemma of closeness and distance that stems from the new forms of individualism that is inherent to a "prosthetic" culture. The article is concerned with the way MySpace users negotiate the issue of distance and closeness as part of the process of identity construction in MySpace. A broader discussion in terms of discourse, community and technology is included.



identity; social network sites; discourse analysis; distance and closeness; mediated community; individualism

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Copyright (c) 2011 Lewis Goodings

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