How many friends do you have? How many followers? How many people have liked your recent post or video? How many shares or how many re-tweets did that post have? And then ultimately what is the total score? How influential are you?
These are questions that might not be openly asked but are always on social media users’ minds. Constantly looking after their “scores” and checking on the popularity of others’, users today clearly show that in the social networking world numbers matter. Numbers reveal how sociable users are, how popular their sayings are, how interesting their everyday life appears to be. High scores depend on the content, or rather the virtuosity of the user behind the content; on the way moments, actions and thoughts are captured, expressed and uploaded, in proper timing with a readiness for timely interaction.
In the era of the attention economy, the social media world looks more and more like a game-space prompting players for their next decisions and moves. Following scores, newsfeed boards and status announcements, users compete for their online presence and peer recognition. Daily mediated interaction is charged by a degree of performativity, a degree of repetitiveness and addiction; a need to keep coming back to provide new feedback. But what drives these new modes of interaction? What is the broader context they can be studied in? Which are the forms of power and counter-power being developed?