Contributed Articles

The Translucence of Twitter

INGRID ERICKSON Erickson and Kellogg’s construction of social translucence suggests that collaboration tools can be designed more effectively by balancing elements of visibility and awareness among members of the user community to instill a norm of accountability. This paper questions whether the microblogging tool, Twitter, fits these criteria. Building on interview and artifactual data, I find that although Twitter use affords ample visibility of individuals’ networks, thoughts and movements, it is less effective at supporting awareness. Despite this, evidence suggests that accountability can be achieved via indirect awareness maneuvers and around critical incident to yield a form of peripheral translucence. The paper concludes with considerations of how ethnography might best address and evaluate questions of community, accountability, and translucence in future research....