It has taken the past decade to commonly acknowledge that online space is tethered to real place. From euphoric conceptualizations of social media spaces as a novel, unprecedented and revolutionary entity, the dust has settled, allowing for talk of boundaries and ties to real-world settings. Metaphors have been instrumental in this pursuit, shaping perceptions and affecting actions within this extended structural realm. Specifically, they have been harnessed to architect Web 2.0 spaces, be it chatrooms, electronic frontiers, homepages, or information highways for policy and practice. While metaphors are pervasive in addressing and normalizing new media spaces, there is less effort channeled into organizing these digital domains along cultural lines to systematize and deepen understandings of its histories, agencies and communities. Hence, this article proposes a framework that reveals dominant cultural dimensions of Web 2.0 spaces through a five-fold typology: (1) utilitarian-driven, (2) aesthetic-driven, (3) context-driven, (4) play-driven and (5) value-driven. This effort capitalizes and transfers mappings of actors and networks from real to virtual space to capture and organize diverse cultural (re)productions.

Digital cultures, Web 2.0, metaphors, social media spaces, virtual spheres,
ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Current Sociology
Includes Author Manuscript, final draft
Department of Media and Communication

Arora, P.A. (2012). Typology of Web 2.0 spheres: Understanding the cultural dimensions of social media spaces. Current Sociology, 60(5), 599–618. doi:10.1177/0011392112440439