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


  • Lewis Goodings Roehampton University



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


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.



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Author Biography

Lewis Goodings, Roehampton University

Dr. Lewis GOODINGS is a lecturer in social psychology at Roehampton University. His research is dedicated to the area of computer-mediated communication from a qualitative perspective. Dr. GOODINGS uses a constructionist approach to new forms of online communication and is interested in classic notions of identity, community and the self. He is currently working on developing an approach to new forms of social media, including social network sites and other new forms of communication mediums. He is also interested in the broader social dynamics of technology, discourse and organisation from a social psychological viewpoint.




How to Cite

Goodings, L. (2011). The Dilemma of Closeness and Distance: A Discursive Analysis of Wall Posting in MySpace. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(3).