This article presents a transnational study of the classification and evaluation of social media content. We conducted a large-scale survey (N = 4770) in five countries (Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and the United States) with open-ended questions about the types of content people like and dislike. Through iterative and inductive coding, we identified 29 topics, or broad areas of interest, and 213 recurrent genres, or narrower categories that share elements of form and content. We compared the results according to country, gender, age, and education level, identifying patterns of cultural difference and commonality. While we found significant differences in the prominence and preferentiality of content, these distictions were less pronounced for disliked topics around which social media users tended to converge. Finally, we discuss genre imaginaries as normative maps that reflect ideas about morality in general and the purpose of social media in particular.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 819004).
© The Author(s) 2021.
- Digital culture
- social media
- social media imaginary
- user-generated content