Breakaway Episode 4 – Context Collapse


This week, Penn and Ellen breakdown an interesting phenomenon that occurs often on social media – context collapse – when various segments of your social network (friends, family, acquaintances, employers, and complete strangers) are muddled together into one big audience. How does a social media user as yourself negotiate the multiple imagined audiences of the social network? From self-presentation tactics such as censorship and compartmentalization, we discuss the complex ways we navigate the online social life.


Context collapse, internet, social media, identity, imagined audience, Facebook, Twitter, censorship


  1. “I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience” by Marwick & boyd (2010) 
  2. “One Size Fits All: Context Collapse, Self-Presentation Strategies and Language Styles on Facebook” by Gil-Lopez et al. (2018) 
  3. Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think (Engadget) 
  4. Younger users flee their parents’ favorite social network, Facebook, at surprising pace (Chicago Tribune) 
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