Gift-giving as a conceptual framework: framing social behavior in online networks
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This paper explores the use of gift-giving as a theoretical and conceptual framework for analyzing social behavior in online networks and communities. Not only has gift-giving the potential to frame and explain much social media behavior, but reversely, and perhaps more importantly, mediated social behavior also has the potential to develop gift-giving theory. Information and communication technologies form joint sociotechnical systems where new practices emerge. The paper focuses on describing the academic background of the gifting framework to help develop a deeper, theory-based, understanding of these sociotechnical phenomena. Three themes are prevalent in the gifting literature: other-orientation, social bonding and generalized reciprocity. The paper gives examples of how these themes are enacted by end-users via the use of information and communication technologies. Finally, sociotechnically embedded economies, called gifting technologies, are identified and discussed.
Keywordsgift-giving gifting technologies social networks
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