context collapse

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Context collapse refers to when a social media user who belongs to a specific peer or social group shares a post publicly but with the expectation that the audience understands the social norms and practices of the group creating a “private” post in public. Then another social media user, not part of the peer group, encounters or interacts with the post using a different set of norms, values, and practices.

The collapse occurs when something written in one context is repeated to another context, often for the purpose of attacking the writer - it is a key failing of twitter and a misunderstanding of publics.

Context Collapse can often occur among vulnerable and unrepresented populations such as People of Color or those who identify as non-binary. Often these groups develop sets of social practices on social media that are unknown to the majority of users from dominant cultures.

See Also