Digital Face

The Digital Face (DIFA) project studies networked interaction and how people present themselves to others. Our main objective is to study the formation of face in digital environments. By ‘face’, we mean the physical face and its digital counterpart, the interface, but as well the expressions we use in social interactions to maintain and uphold face. While face, in its various forms, is a key nexus for sociality, its formation in digital environments is not properly understood. We will trace how people move across a range of services and face-to-face interactions in their everyday lives, when deciding whom to vote for or whom to date, for example. The main research question is: What is digital face, and how is it expressed and communicated?

We will conduct empirical case studies using various qualitative and quantitative methods to find out how research participants construct their digital faces through different kinds of services and how these digital faces are intertwined with traditional face-to-face communication.

The project will result in an up-to-date, empirically grounded understanding of digital face. Our project combines theoretical work from the humanities and social sciences with empirically grounded findings on understandings and enactments of face.

Persons involved:

Janne Seppänen
Principal Investigator, Professor
Tampere University
janne.seppanen [at]​

Asko Lehmuskallio
Principal Investigator, Associate Professor
Tampere University
asko.lehmuskallio [at]

Tapio Takala
Principal Investigator, Professor
Aalto University School of Science
tta [at]

Jenni Niemelä-Nyrhinen
Researcher, Tampere University
jenni.niemela-nyrhinen [at]

Ida Roivainen
Researcher, Tampere University
ida.roivainen [at]

Minna Saariketo
Researcher, Aalto University
minna.saariketo [at]

Mari Pienimäki
Postdoctoral Researcher, Tampere University
mari.pienimaki [at]

Funding: Academy of Finland

Duration of the project: 2017–2019