Over the past decade, people have experienced a wave of social networking sites, offering them to experience unprecedented interactivity. A recent Pew Research Center study found that about 56 percent of adult social media users in the United States use more than one of these platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook. This phenomenon is known as platform-swinging, which refers to the routine use of multiple social media platforms.
Edson Tandoc Jr., Chen Lou, and Velyn Lee Hui Min of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University Singapore conducted a study to understand the phenomenon of platform-swinging. Researchers conducted focus group discussions with 62 social media users in Singapore.
Respondents used social media platforms for two main gratiﬁcations: self-presentation and relationship management.
Self-presentation refers to the process of supplying information about our own selves to project a desired image. Millennial participants favored Instagram, which provides them with easy access to photo-enhancing tools to ensure that they present only the best version of themselves.
Respondents project diﬀerent selves across diﬀerent platforms, showing how they manage their self-presentations across a poly-social-media environment. For example, a female participant from the Generation X group likes to share her photos, but she uses Facebook to share photos of dishes that she cooks while she uses Instagram to share photos of her doing sports or yoga. A male participant from the Millennial group uses Facebook “to share some fun facts” but goes to Instagram “for travelling purposes.”
They also used various social media platforms for relationship management. For example, a respondent said, “For Facebook, because I have relatives and adults and teachers who are my friends, so I tend to post more—I wouldn’t say serious things, but more—it wouldn’t be like how I am on Twitter. Because on Twitter I’m more carefree and I share more stuﬀ. And Instagram is also more formal because, like, parents and stuﬀ will follow me also. And then for Snapchat, it’s a whole diﬀerent story, like I can just choose who I want to send it to, so I can just go crazy with that.”
To read the full text of the study: https://bit.ly/2Oq5aEu
Tandoc Jr, E. C., Lou, C., & Min, V. L. H. (2018). Platform-swinging in a poly-social-media context: How and why users navigate multiple social media platforms. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 24(1), 21-35.