THE EMERGENCE OF NETWORKS ON FACEBOOK MEMORIAL PAGES
Keywords:Facebook, admins, affordances, engagement, social capital, , memorialization, qualitative
AbstractFacebook Pages is an essentially public sub-platform that allows users to reach an audience, create a large network of followers, and become admins. Pages’ official aim is to serve businesses, communities, and public figures, yet they are commonly employed in different aims: to memorialize and publicize ordinary people. This paper examines these practices through an in-depth qualitative analysis of eighteen cases, combined with a digital ethnography conducted between 2018-2021. Findings illuminate the role that these memorial Pages serve as social capital resources and reveal how admins negotiate Facebook affordances when creating, designing, and maintaining such Pages. Admins use the Page and its network of followers to run an extensive memorial activity, both online and offline, and to turn the deceased into a public figure. They discursively position the deceased as a special person whose story carries social significance and collective moral value, hence worth public remembering. Acts of engagement with the Page emerge as socially valued actions, and the followers, who are otherwise strangers, are framed as vital partners in this process. Admins use the followers to accumulate various resources: money donations, physical attendance in events, emotional support, and more. These amount to the social capital that admins generate. Finally, users form a causal connection between visible and measurable online engagement (Like, Share, Follow) and cognitive or emotive implications – public memory, recognition, and esteem. Together, these findings provide fruitful insights into social capital processes on social media sites, memorialization practices, and public remembrance.
How to Cite
Navon, S. (2023). THE EMERGENCE OF NETWORKS ON FACEBOOK MEMORIAL PAGES. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.13061