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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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Digital Institutions

Digital Institutions

(p.125) 8 Digital Institutions
Following Searle on Twitter

Adam Hodgkin

University of Chicago Press

Digital institutions can alter and adapt their constitution and performance, and they interact with other institutions. In the case of Twitter all this institutionality, whether with basic or systemic actions involves digital Status Function Declarations. This chapter considers whether an economic or venture capitalist explanation ‘following the money’ would provide an alternative and perhaps better explanation of Twitter’s evolution, but the Twitter business model was invented or imposed on an institution which had already been growing and adapting its performance for several years before any obvious economic rationale was injected into it. Further the economic rationale, through advertising, appears to presuppose something like the fine-grained granularity of a Searlean explanation in which individuals are generating content and making social connections. Some consideration is also given to Actor-Network Theory (A-N T) and the ‘performativity’ and ‘interpretive flexibility’ which Twitter in common with other digital platforms exhibits.

Keywords:   institutionality, predigital institutions, delegate, business models, platforms, Actor-Network Theory

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