Mediated in social media

two cats with a selfie stick and the telophone displays the selfie of the two cats

In my research on computer-mediated communication, I have come across the article by Alex Georgakopoulou on stories on social media. Alex Georgakopouou has looked at the way we are – let’s say – pushed towards specific ways of sharing our lives on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Weibo. She calles such stories “curated, socio-technical fomats”.

curated, socio-technical formats

Alex Georgakopoulou

This means that the way these stories are shaped is recognisably determined – curated – by technology. And that goes for the type of person sharing the story (“the teller”) as well as for the specific ways of telling the story.

We know the stories: they are videos, images, and the like which are shared with the story function and which disappear after a certain amount of time. What we might not be aware of is the fact that the stories are designed features with which the social media platforms have prompted us to share moments of our lives. Georgakopoulou has called these stories “small stories”

What are you doing right now?


Small stories often cover mundane, ordinary, and trivial events of the person sharing. With the developments of technology, the story-telling has widened from “telling the moment” to “showing the moment” with selfies on to sharing the moment with stories. We are pushed towards the sharing-a-moment of our lives by the prompts of the social media platforms with phrases like “What are you doing right now?” (Facebook) or “What’s happening?” (Twitter),

drawing of cat sitting within a social media button
Social Media Cat

While the social media platforms stress the individuality, creativity, spontaneity, and authenticity of the users, the algorithms and viewer figures have a somewhat dampening effect on the individuality. Influencers, who rely on high viewer figures to be place highly by the algorithms and to make money with their stories, create their stories in a certain way to appeal to as many followers as possible.

the increasing power of social media platforms in actively engineering stories and delimiting the potential for individual creativity by means of the formatting processes

Alex Georgakopoulou

The stories have become a specific type of recognisable communicative practise and social action. Georgakopoulou talks about ‘formatting’, which affects the story-telling. Formatting refers to which technical possibilities the social media platforms offer to us, what the social media platforms prompt us to share, and who is telling the stories. The formatting shapes the type of story told, the audience’s engagement, and the self-presentation. This is why we get the sharing-life-in-the-moment type of story, the quantification of viewing, and perceived authenticity as building blocks of social media stories.

Article Details:

Georgakopoulou, A. (2021). Small stories as curated formats on social media: The intersection of affordances, values and practices. SYSTEM, 102, 1-8.


Cite this blog post
Edith Podhovnik (2022, May 17). Mediated in social media. Meow Factor. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from

Edith Podhovnik

a linguist researching language #purrieties and #meowlogism-s •alumna of SwanseaUni • loves cats • writes about cats

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