Critical analysis of interactive media with software affordances


  • Matthew X. Curinga Adelphi University



social media, software affordances, social constructivism, software studies, Facebook, human computer interaction


There is a long standing, and unsettled debate surrounding the ways that technology influences society. There is strong scholarship supporting the social construction perspective, arguing that the effects of technology are wholly socially and politically determined. This paper argues that the social constructivist position needs to be expanded if it can be useful for more than observing the ways technologies are designed and used. We need to develop better ways to talk about software, computer hardware, and networks, so that we can describe the social interpretations of these systems while accounting for their unique characteristics. We suggest using software affordances as a way to understand the semantics of software as interactive systems. Using Facebook privacy concerns as a case study, we argue that software affordances offer a useful lens for considering the social and political implications of interactive software systems, providing us more analytical tools to interpret, and not just describe, new technologies.

Author Biography

Matthew X. Curinga, Adelphi University

Matthew X. Curinga is a software developer and digital media researcher. He is Assistant Professor and Director of the graduate program in Educational Technology at the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University in New York. His interests include educational philosophy, political theory, and the study of networked and interactive software systems. He draws on his extensive work as a software developer and educational media designer to study digital media. He holds a BA in English Literature from Colby College and an MA in Computing and Education and EdD in Instructional Technology and Media from Columbia University Teachers College.




How to Cite

Curinga, M. X. (2014). Critical analysis of interactive media with software affordances. First Monday, 19(9).