Layered Accounts of Life and Identity in the 21st Century
This paper takes an actor network theory approach to explore some of the ways that algorithms co-construct identity and relational meaning in contemporary use of social media. Based on intensive interviews with participants as well as activity logging and data tracking, the author presents a richly layered set of accounts to help build our understanding of how individuals relate to their devices, search systems, and social network sites. This work extends critical analyses of the power of algorithms in implicating the social self by offering narrative accounts from multiple perspectives. It also contributes an innovative method for blending actor network theory with symbolic interaction to grapple with the complexity of everyday sensemaking practices within networked global information flows.
identity; agency; critical theory; remix; actor network theory