Public Intimacy on social media – extimacy as connected presence



#socialmedia #digitalrights #intimacy

The modern experience of intimacy and sociality is being radically transformed, impacting not just the quality of social relationships but also the experience of the self and the borders between private and public expressions of the self. Social media are prime aspects of today’s intimacy practices. They fulfil a need and desire for (remote) communications and a feeling of (mediated) connection.

The contemporary transformations regarding intimacy are presented in this paper. It is stated as a hypothesis that a reordering of the private and public realms has been happening since the 20th century, requiring a new theory of publicity and publicness. Only a reconceptualization of the modern notions of “public” and “private” enables us to fully understand the mutations in public intimacy provoked by social media. The objective is to demonstrate that media modulates intimacy, and concepts such as extimacy and connected presence are needed to fully comprehend and evaluate it.

This work begins by recounting the transformations in modern intimacy and its contemporary redefinition. Then, a characterization of the contemporary articulations of intimacy is drawn, and the implications of extimacy for the individual in the context of highly mediatized societies are presented. It is argued that extimacy involves a complete reformulation of modern intimacy in direction or a malleable, fluid, and negotiated, public intimacy. It is even more important today as growing differentiation and performativity in social life demand the management of social relations.

Type of Publication
social media
Ámbitos - Revista Internacional de Comunicación
Publishing Date
Samuel Mateus