Center for Digital Narrative
CDN Research

Social Media and Network Narratives

The objective of this research is to discover how social narratives emerge from fragmented contributions on the internet and how these are influenced by individuals, organizations, and algorithms.

Social Media and Network Narratives – Center for Digital Narrative, UiB

Main content

Narratives are one of the main ways we make sense of our lives and of our place in the world—and social media are an important platform for that.

The Social Media and Network Narratives research node explores the emergence of social narratives on the internet, influenced by individuals, organizations, and algorithms.

We tell stories about ourselves with photos and posts on Facebook or Instagram or TikTok or Snapchat. Some of these stories are anonymous and are shared and discussed almost like gossip - the Am I the Asshole forum on Reddit is a great example. Someone tells a story about a tricky situation and everyone else discusses who was in the right and who was, well, an asshole.

There are fictional versions of stories like that too. For instance, the TV show SKAM created fictional Instagram and YouTube accounts for the main characters, so their social media activities were part of the overall story.

There are viral stories and urban myths that spread on social media. Deeply problematic narratives, like conspiracy theories or political propaganda, are also circulated in these environments.

This node will analyze specific stories in social media and ask big questions: Do different stories work in social media than in print or face to face? How are AI and recommendation algorithms affecting the kinds of stories we tell?