Release:2017, Vol. 1. №2
About the authors:Andrei P. Glukhov, Cand. Sci. (Philos.), Associate Professor, Department of Social Communications, Tomsk State University; firstname.lastname@example.org
This article analyses the transformation of the communicative culture of virtual interpersonal relations and the virtual identity of the youth audience in social media space. The empirical base of the project is the field research of virtual interpersonal communications of student youth in Tomsk universities. Thus, this study has a pronounced regional specificity. The authors have used semi-formalized interviews and focus groups in offline and online formats on virtual social media sites. The main methodological method is the reinterpretation and transposition of theoretical conceptual schemes from the traditional offline communication to network communications. This allowed to identify the key frames of organising interpersonal communications in the social network space. In accordance with the hypothesis, the social media, as a new communicative infrastructure of interpersonal communications, becomes a carrier platform for two types of interpersonal communications — interpersonal strong close ties (as in a private communication organization) and interpersonal weak ties (as in semi-public communication). Based on analytics and the conducted qualitative research, the authors have come to the following conclusions: social platforms in relation to close interpersonal relationships do not change their structure and organization. Yet, they provide new opportunities for logistics (planning and alignment) of relations, management of communications (in terms of regulating the impression of oneself, the level of involvement, synchronization of contacts and access), and removing risks and uncertainty (greater transparency and ease of entry/exit). Weak network ties (in the format of semi-public communications) are masked as “quasi-close” relationships, and their participants use them for the purposes of self-presentation and acquisition of social capital among their acquaintances and other people. The authors see the further prospect of research of virtual interpersonal communications in the analysis of changes in the balance of communication modes under the influence of network platforms. Additionally, a further thorough study requires the transfer of interpersonal “frames” and patterns of relations into the sphere of professional and business communication, actively implemented in networked semi-public communications.