Online Social Status: A Critical Discord Analysis
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In offline interactions many factors influence the manner in which social status and hierarchies are formed and assigned. Much of this process of social status assignment has been studied, among which many of the factors that influence this process, such as gender and wealth. However, there is not as much research and insight into how this process functions online, and most of the research that has been conducted focused on quantitatively measurable social status, for example through analysis of ‘likes’, ‘followers’, and ‘views’ (Lampe et al., 2007; Levina & Arriaga, 2014). In order to contribute to this gap in knowledge, this study analyzed the platform Discord using a critical discourse analysis. First the platform was analyzed using the discursive interface analysis, after which its social media accounts and website were analyzed. This was followed by the conduction of interviews and surveys, and lastly a social practice analysis was performed. Using the results of these analyses the following research question was answered in this thesis: How does the platform Discord contribute to the creation of social status online? One of the main results was a framework of indicators that contribute to online social status assignment. Of these indicators, interests and availability were found to be the most important contributors to social status assignment on Discord, and gender and education were found to be the least important contributors. Discord was found to mainly influence the process of social status assignment through their emphasis on the creation of communities and the use of roles within a server that they have implemented.