What is it about?

We are unaware of many of the influences that impact our behavior toward information on social media. Ego, relationships, passions, and attitudes toward conflict all impact how we perceive and respond to information encountered on these platforms. Posting, liking, and sharing of information is often done to signal something about ourselves based on our assumptions about how others think. Because these same influences are driving everyone we interact with as well, social media is rife with noise and misunderstanding.

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Why is it important?

Being aware of these unrecognized influences is an important first step toward more mindful social media information behavior and toward reducing the thoughtless sharing of misinformation online.


My hope is that by examining what lies beneath the surface of social media we can begin to understand ourselves and others better and maybe even to reduce some of the negativity and division that social noise causes.

Tara Zimmerman
University of Texas at Austin

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Social noise: the influence of observers on social media information behavior, Journal of Documentation, January 2022, Emerald,
DOI: 10.1108/jd-08-2021-0165.
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