Ulla Autenrieth

Die Theatralisierung der Freundschaft

Zum Einfluss von Bildern und bildbasierter Kommunikation auf Social Network Sites auf die Freundschaftsbeziehungen von Jugendlichen und jungen Erwachsenen

[The Theatricalisation of Friendship. The Influence of Pictures and Picture-based Communication on Social Network Sites on the Friendship Relations of Teens and Young Adults]

Picture-based communication on social network sites like Facebook is a rapidly increasing phenomenon. Recent developments in social media usage document that teenagers and young adults are noticeably more interacting through private photographs and context-based follow-up-communication. In this paper, the influences and consequences of this media practice on adolescent friendship relations in online environments are discussed. The initial point is a sociological perspective on the process of theatricalisation in everyday situations. It is analyzed how the specific communication situation of a (semi-)public online environment like social network sites establishes a tendency towards more performative ways of friendship practices. From an analytical point of view there are three major aspects of performativity which can be differentiated: (1) The picture-based presentation of friendship in front of an audience, (2) the distinct ritualized and reciprocal validation, as well as (3) the staging and communication of a positive (group)image. These three steps of performative picture-based friendship communication are explicated and illustrated on the basis of an example.

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