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The like economy: Social buttons and the data-intensive web

Gerlitz, Carolin and Helmond, Anne. 2013. The like economy: Social buttons and the data-intensive web. New Media & Society, 15(8), pp. 1348-1365. ISSN 1461-4448 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The paper examines Facebook’s ambition to extend into the entire web by focusing on social buttons and developing a medium-specific platform critique. It contextualises the rise of buttons and counters as metrics for user engagement and links them to different web economies. Facebook’s Like buttons enable multiple data flows between various actors, contributing to a simultaneous de- and re-centralisation of the web. They allow the instant transformation of user engagement into numbers on button counters, which can be traded and multiplied but also function as tracking devices. The increasing presence of buttons and associated social plugins on the web creates new forms of connectivity between websites, introducing an alternative fabric of the web. Contrary to Facebook’s claim to promote a more social experience of the web, this paper explores the implementation and technical infrastructure of such buttons to conceptualise them as part of a so-called ‘Like economy’.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444812472322

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]

Dates:

DateEvent
2013Published

Item ID:

13747

Date Deposited:

29 Sep 2015 11:06

Last Modified:

16 Dec 2016 17:18

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/13747

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