A typology of social media rituals

Tommaso Trillò*, Blake Hallinan, Limor Shifman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Given its massive volume and rapid development of new trends, the universe of user-generated content may seem utterly chaotic. Yet the flow of content is underlined by deep-rooted patterns of communication. In this article, we present the first systematic attempt to identify these patterns using the concept of social media rituals. Understood as typified communicative practices that formalize and express shared values, rituals offer a productive path to categorize popular genres of content and trace the values they convey. Integrating theoretical literature on rituals with empirical studies of social media genres, we develop a typology of 16 rituals that express diverse values, ranging from respect and responsibility to materialism and pleasure. Furthermore, we show that rituals embed different notions of good communication, as reflected in the values of authenticity, persuasion, affiliation, and demonstration. Finally, we discuss how our framework can facilitate comparative investigations of user-generated content and platform values.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberzmac011
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of International Communication Association.


  • Genres
  • Rituals
  • Social media rituals
  • User-generated content
  • Values


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