“I Want to See Those Memories”: Social Affordances of Mobile Phone Cameras and Social Network Sites in Collegiate Drinking

Gilbert Quintero, Henry Bundy, Michelle Grocke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Alcohol use remains a prominent feature of American collegiate social life. Emerging technological developments, particularly the proliferation of mobile phone cameras and the easy sharing of digital images on social network sites (SNS), are now widely integrated into these drinking practices. This article presents an exploratory study examining how 40 students on a midsized college campus in the interior Pacific Northwest incorporate these technologies into their drinking activities. Data from semistructured interviews are considered within the theoretical framework of “affordances,” which classifies material technologies (camera phones, SNS) as simultaneously inhabiting the role of artifact shaped by human action and of object that influences human conduct. Our data suggest that although contemporary college drinking reflects long-standing practices, cameras, digital images, and social media introduce new dimensions to college alcohol consumption and memory-making processes. These technologies are used to chronicle and archive the festive, social aspects of drinking; commemorate the good times that make up the college experience; and capture proud or incautious displays of excessive drinking. Our examination of emergent college drinking practices seeks to extend understandings of contemporary trends in collegiate alcohol use beyond the discourse of risk and indiscretion to include other important social and cultural dimensions of these phenomena, including pro-social aspects of these practices and the social affordances provided by digital image sharing and reminiscing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-197
Number of pages18
JournalContemporary Drug Problems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • USA
  • alcohol
  • qualitative research
  • social contexts
  • social media
  • young adults


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