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Following Searle on TwitterHow Words Create Digital Institutions$
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Adam Hodgkin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226438214

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226438351.001.0001

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“Following” Makes Twitter’s Social Structure

“Following” Makes Twitter’s Social Structure

(p.43) 3 “Following” Makes Twitter’s Social Structure
Following Searle on Twitter

Adam Hodgkin

University of Chicago Press

Once we are members of Twitter we have the opportunity to shape Twitter’s institutional structure by following, or not following other members of Twitter. The status function declaration of following is shown to be the fundamental building block of Twitter’s social structure, but there are related actions which also shape the institution. Unfollowing, blocking, unblocking and other affinity relations are found to be precise examples of the Status Function Declaration type. These are all actions open to members of Twitter that relate to members of Twitter and that are accepted and recognised by the digital institution directly. Twitter’s institutional structure is thus made by the accumulated activity of the members of Twitter who perform these rather simple or basic actions, which are only available to members of Twitter.

Keywords:   membership, follow, unfollow, block, affinity, standing, status function declaration

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