Choose a distinct feature or function of a specific social media platform and analyze it using the concept of affordances, building on the Week 4 readings (Bucher & Helmond, Shaw) and other relevant readings from the syllabus.
For example, you could write about Twitter’s retweet button, Facebook’s news feed, Instagram tagging, or Tinder’s swiping function. Don’t just sit down and write your paper – spend time using the platform, observing and experimenting with your chosen feature to better understand how it works from an affordance perspective. Don’t forget to take notes and screenshots!
Some questions to think about: How does it shape the platform? What are its intended/dominant uses, and how are those uses communicated? What actions and behaviours does it encourage and discourage? What are its perceived and actual affordances? Does it have negotiated or oppositional uses? What purposes does it serve for different actors (not just ordinary users, but also organizations, advertisers, developers, and the platform itself)? Remember that affordances are both technical and social – it’s not just about the design of the platform, it’s also about how people understand and use it.
Write up your analysis as a short essay with a clear thesis, supporting your arguments with your own observations and references to the course readings. You may include screenshots or images to illustrate your points, but they are not required.