Abstract: Based on the assumptions that digital media are used as integrated structures or “polymedia repertoires” and that media practices cannot be treated as unrelated practices performed on distinct platforms, the present study examined the digital sociability of young people and their media prosumption in a polymedia environment. Data were collected from group interviews of 67 12- to 19-year-olds and 59 personal visualised media sketches. The study focused on teenage engagement with news as part of their media repertoires and their understanding of what news is in the context of general platform sociability conditions, including a state of permanent connectedness and constant anticipation of something new. Their sociability based on permanent activity and affective engagement was enabled and framed by the algorithmically produced regime of visibility and the promise of liveness. The findings indicated that an important consequence of the increased fragmentation of activities is the naturalisation of the performance of multiple media practices at the same time. Although the complexity of such performance, even among teenagers, revealed socially distinctive categories, clear hierarchies between types of practices—such as watching news or pop culture, online shopping and doing homework—and the cultural differentiation of the dominant contexts for these practices—such as school and leisure—were eroded. The contexts of school, home, and leisure thus collapse, and the definition of important news journalism becomes highly unstable, with the distinction between pop and politics generally disintegrating.
Keywords: adolescents; social media; digital visibility; liveness; news repertoires; media engagement; media repertoires; polymedia; permanently online