Break-Ups and the Limits of Encoding Love

Papacharissi, Z., ed. “A Networked Self and Love”. New York, NY: Routledge. Pp. 113-128, 2018

21 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2020

See all articles by Bernie Hogan

Bernie Hogan

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Date Written: March 10, 2017

Abstract

This essay explores how social network sites encode relationships in ways that do not always fit the relationship as lived experience by individuals. This act of encoding is especially salient where there is a discrepancy between what is performed (love within the relationship) and what is exhibited (static states that signify the relationship). One critical case of this discrepancy is the break-up, as this process leaves static traces to persist online while individuals live separately. The essay uses examples from television media and psychology, particularly the concept of verbal overshadowing to emphasize the challenge in reconciling performed and exhibited relations. In doing so, this essay highlights that it is not only individual profiles and contributions that are curated on social media systems, but relationships as well. As a consequence, networked societies cannot contain aspects of human experience such as love which are relational and process-oriented, but only signify these aspects and seek to steer them. The way they are steered is not necessarily in the interests of the individuals but the platforms. Designing for a break-up further implies considering how to undermine the pervasive logic of connectivity within the ideology of a network society.

Suggested Citation

Hogan, Bernie, Break-Ups and the Limits of Encoding Love (March 10, 2017). Papacharissi, Z., ed. “A Networked Self and Love”. New York, NY: Routledge. Pp. 113-128, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3656516 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3656516

Bernie Hogan (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

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