In this series of articles, we propose to understand social networks as semio-rhetorical fields in which the construction and transformation of value follows unprecedented dynamics. In particular, we develop the idea of a new value economy, in which the quantitative appreciation expressed by the acts of viewing, liking and following is often transformed into financial, reputational or aesthetic values. Following the activity of influencers, we propose the idea of a paradoxical algorithmic-experiential regression in the production and fruition of images, in which simple and instinctive acts such as likes, which are close to a simple and semantically unarticulated aesthetic experience, are treated by algorithms in order to be immediately socialized them in order to build online communities.
D’Armenio, E., “L’économie de l’influence dans les réseaux sociaux en ligne”, Créativité sémiotique et institutions du sens, Basso Fossali, P. (Ed.), Pulim, Limoges, 2021, pp. 307- 322.
This chapter investigates the impact of social networks such as YouTube and Instagram in the social management of meaning. Our hypothesis is that the economy of values on social networks is based on two fundamental mediating instances. On the one hand, technical mediations result from social network infrastructures: media devices and software restrictions build specific forms of interaction. On the other hand, influence mediations are the processes through which certain actors – such as those now known as “influencers” – are able to aggregate collectives around themselves, before exploiting them in collaboration with other instances, which are the owners of other sources of value. Taking into account the activities of formation and transformation of collectives around the acts of appreciation (like, share, follow) will leads us to the hypothesis of an experiential regression in meaning management, the particularity of which is to be managed by algorithmic quantification procedures.
D’Armenio E. and Dondero M.G., “La photographie numérique à l’époque des réseaux sociaux : pour une approche quali-quantitative”, Les sociabilités numériques, Ablali, D. and Bertin E. (Eds.), Academia-L’Harmattan, Louvain-La-Neuve, 2021, pp. 59-79.
In this paper, we interrogate the social role of digital photography in the context of social networks such as Instagram and Twitter. Our aim is to provide a critical overview of this field and of the developments through an examination of the work of Lev Manovich and the Cultural Analytics Lab. In the first part, we approach digital photography from the point of view of a semiotic media theory. A critical commentary on Manovich’s Instagram and Contemporary Image (2017) allows us to address the elements of continuity and discontinuity between photography shared on social networks and earlier stages of its evolution. In the second part, we describe the new uses of digital photography, such as the competitive practices exploited by influencers. A critical discussion of Manovich’s proposed classification of Instagram photos – casual, professional and design aesthetics – leads us to identify how new practices of sociality and professionalization of the self structure image genres on social networks.
D’Armenio, E., “Les influenceurs et l’économie des identités dans les réseaux sociaux”, Médiations visibles et invisibles. Essais critiques sur les dispositifs médiatiques contemporains, Badir, S. and Servais, C. (Eds.), Academia-L’Harmattan, “Extensions sémiotiques”, Louvain-la-Neuve, 2021, pp. 33-70.
This chapter investigates the impact of sharing networks such as YouTube and Instagram on the management of meaning. Its aim is to provide a critical overview of social media interactions, bringing the semiotic perspective into dialogue with the communication and information science perspective.
The central hypothesis of this study is that social networks have given rise to a new economy of values based on collective appreciation. This economy is structured through technical infrastructures, interaction modalities, and new mediating figures. The case of influencers – figures capable of aggregating around them communities of subscribers, followers, and likers – will guide the investigation, as it is exemplary of the construction and transformation of values on social networks.