Mapping the transnational imaginary of social media genres

Blake Hallinan, Bumsoo Kim*, Rebecca Scharlach, Tommaso Trillò, Saki Mizoroki, Limor Shifman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)559-583
Number of pages25
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Digital culture
  • genres
  • globalization
  • social media
  • social media imaginary
  • user-generated content


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