Selfies, Affordances, and Situational Properties​

Presented by A/Prof Katrin Tiidenberg, Tallinn University (Estonia)

Date: Friday 11 October, 2019
Time: 3:00pm-4:00pm
Location: Digital Learning Space (Room 224, Level 2), Joyce Ackroyd Building (#37) 


This talk is about self-presentational visuals on social media. More specifically it is about how people experience and make sense of what they are doing, when they are posting, liking or hating on selfies, or when they use reaction gifs instead of telling someone to ‘F*** off.’ There is an incredible richness and nuance in the social functions, affect, localized norms, and experienced control in these visual practices. Whether sharing selfies, or looking at other people’s selfies makes one feel good or bad, in control or trapped, depends on social media’s affordances for looking and showing on the one hand, and the situational proprieties that govern people’s involvements in each specific situation, on another. Looking can’t uniformly be equated with power just as being seen or showing can’t be equated with powerlessness. Based on material gathered on and about Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat over the past 7 years, this talk proposes some patterns about how people behave, how they make sense of what they are doing, and how that is immanent to discourses, norms and power hierarchies in the case of visual self-presentation on social media.


Dr. Katrin Tiidenberg is an Associate Professor of Visual Culture and Social Media at the Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication Institute of Tallinn University in Estonia. She has published extensively on selfie culture and her main research interests focus on the intersections of (visual) self-presentation on social media and dominant normative ideologies. Member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences’ Young Academy of Sciences, and on the executive board of the Association of Internet Researchers and the Estonian Sociology Association. She is the author of two recent monographs - "Selfies, why we love (and hate) them" (2018) and "Body and soul on the internet - making sense of social media" (in Estonian 2017).



About Research Seminar and Workshop Series


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 24 March

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

Fire Futures: codesigning for resilience

Dr Skye Doherty

Friday, 31 March

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

From Fatigue Studies to Burnout: A Brief History of Work Exhaustion

A/Prof Elizabeth Stephens



Digital Learning Space (Room 224, Level 2), Joyce Ackroyd Building (#37)