Assessment 3 · Uncategorized

Intimate Publics


Speaking of the word “intimacy”, what people think of above all is existing between lovers, family members or close friends. However, along with the pervasion of social and mobile media, intimacies also can exist at a social or cultural level and happen between strangers (Michael Herzfeld, 1997). Even if they are not live in a town, city or country, they can through social media and the mobile phone to conduct cultural intimacy such as sharing information to know each other and become friends as well. Intimate publics is a promise of belongingness and inclusion (Velez, 2014).

SNS as intimacy zone

However, due to the accelerated pace of life and accumulation of competition, people have less opportunity to chat with friends face to face, they need to express emotion. Therefore, SNSs as intimatcy zone provides people a chance to self-disclosure (Zhang yafei, 2015). SNS refers to social network site, users can post their daily life events and get information on other people’s lives, which also be regarded as an important social media platform to promote interpersonal intimacies. Other observers can read their daily update and know their daily situation, sometimes observers can ask questions or write some comments to those people who post contents (Derlega et al., 1993; Gibbs et al., 2006; Hollenbaugh & Ferris, 2014 ). The most dominant SNS includes Facebook, Twitter, Wechat, QQ and so on.


Major social media platforms

In SNSs, intimacy is represented that people manage their online details. People prefer to rely on these platforms to communicate their thoughts, emotions, feelings or experiences with others, which also can help them reduce loneliness and intimate others. (Derlega et al., 1993; Gibbs et al., 2006; Hollenbaugh & Ferris, 2014)

Taking QQ as an example. It as a social media platform, people can use it to chat with others, and post their photo and feeling on it, which is very popular in China a few years ago. It is worth mentioning that QQ has a function to remind people about their friends’ birthday and to help users automatically send blessings and gifts, just as indicates by the arrows in the above right picture. When some people receive blessings or gifts, they will feel not so lonely and they continue to be part of their circle of communication among. Especially for shy people, who are likely to have fewer friends and lower satisfaction (Asendorpf & Wilpers, 1998; Neyer & Asendorpf, 2001; Ozer & Benet-Martinez, 2006). Therefore, the intimate publics by generating a sense of emotional continuity amongst its members (Velez, 2014). The development of SNSs is useful to intimate publics, promote people’s self-disclosure and reduce loneliness.

Mobile intimacy in an age of affective mobile media

According to Larissa Hjorth and Sun Lim (2012), the popularity of mobile media blur and reinstate boundaries between online and offline worlds, intimate publics is in an age of mobile intimate. People can engage with social media anytime, anywhere. For example, people can use mobile phone to log in Facebook homepage to add other users to ‘friends’ lists and add a social dimension to the game. During playing games, there will be at least two kinds of friends in a SNS gamer’s network (Rossi, 2009). The first kind of friend is real friends that players socialize with in real life. When the player play these social games, the game’s designers will design some rewards to ask the players to invite more people to participate in the games. The second friend is instrumental friends that only have a weak relationship with that user, maybe they do not know each other previously.They become friends and work together just because of the common interest or goals. Therefore, social media games can nurture relationships for socialization and promote people’s societal interaction (Rao, 2008). This is likewise a kind of performance of intimacy.

Reflecting of my campaign

On my own work, the most important point is to engage the public and intimate public. My project is a non-profit organization to trade second-hand furniture. The point determines that I need to use these social media platforms to promote my organization to a large number of people, most of them are strangers to me. Therefore, using social media platforms properly is very important to intimate my target audience—international students, especially Chinese overseas students. According to Hjorth & Lim, users to build a relationship owing to similar like or goals. Before I post some information about second- hand furniture, I need to make abundant people know my organization. Therefore, I chose to use Facebook, Twitter, Weibo and Wechat to promote my organization. Firstly, I called my friends and some public accounts to help me to advertise my project in their circle of friends. Then, some people or students who have the demand for second-hand furniture will focus on the organization’ public account or add the organization and add it as a friend. On the one hand, people can acquire information they want timely. They can see the second –hand furniture’s information that I post on these platforms. On the other hand, some people who wish to sell their furniture, they can contact our organization and send their second-hand furniture’s information to us, such as pictures and prices. During the implementation of my project, intimate publics on SNSs is very important, which can determine whether my project success.


Organization on WeChat: sharing information with the public.

According to Reis & Shaver (1988), the target directness and information availability is the basis of differentiating between SNS disclosures and their social effects. However, the limitation of time and inadequate preparation leads to the level of interaction with publics is not sufficient. On my work, there are a few types of second-hand furniture, and the introduction forms are also simple. In addition, when international students trade second-hand furniture, they are more worried about how to transport these furniture. But in my project, I have not mentioned it. Therefore, unclear target directedness also result did not reach the desired results of intimate target audience.


In general, the development of SNS and mobile phone promotes intimate public. A variety of modes of utilizing these media close the distance of people, people’s communication is no longer limited by time and space. Online interaction become more frequent, the social-cultural intimate in the virtual community has become a part of people’ lives, they can self-disclosure, relieve their feelings and emotion.


 Archer, R. L., & Cook, C. E. (1986). Personalistic self-disclosure and attraction: Basis for relationship or scarce resource. Social Psychology Quarterly, 49, 268–272.

Emma Velez,( 2014). Intimate Publics and Ephemerality, Snapchat: A Case Study. Retrieved 18 April, 2016 from

Hjorth, L., & Lim, S. S. (2012). Mobile intimacy in an age of affective mobile media. Feminist Media Studies, 12(4), 477-484.

Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. Sage.

Natalya N. Bazarova. (2012). Public Intimacy: Disclosure Interpretation and Social Judgments on Facebook. Journal of Communication ISSN 0021-9916

Zhang Ya Fei& Ling Qi.(2015). SNS as Intimacy Zone: Social Intimacy, Loneliness, and Self-disclosure on SNS. Global Media Journal13.25 (Dec 2015): 1-18.





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