This is a bibliography on the topic of ephemerality and social media maintained by Jenny Davis and Nathan Jurgenson. We are interested in papers  that directly explore new technologies that specifically afford ephemerality. These technologies, epitomized in the self-destructing content in apps like Snapchat, Tinder, and the iPhone camera, sit in partial juxtaposition to the “stickiness” of traditional new media. Our focus here is on work from the social sciences and the humanities. We consider both articles and substantial blogs and essays. We’d love suggestions for pieces to be included, comment with them below or write nathanjurgenson [at] gmail


Utz Sonja, Muscanell Nicole, and Khalid Cameran. Snapchat Elicits More Jealousy than Facebook: A Comparison of Snapchat and Facebook Use. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Jennifer Charteris, Sue Gregory, and Yvonne Masters, Snapchat ‘selfies’: The case of disappearing data, in B. Hegarty, J. McDonald, & S.-K. Loke (Eds.), Rhetoric and Reality: Critical perspectives on educational technology. Proceedings ascilite Dunedin 2014 (pp. 389-393).

Jenny Davis and Nathan Jurgenson, Theorizing Context Collapse: Context collusions and collisions, Information, Communication, and Society, 2014

Christopher Kotfila, This message will self-destruct: The growing role of obscurity and self-destructing data in digital communication, Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 2014

Michael S. Bernstein , Andres Monroy-Hernandez , Drew Harry1, Paul Andre , Katrina Panovich, and Greg Vargas, 4chan and /b/:An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, 2011

Franziska Roesner , Brian T. Gill , and Tadayoshi Kohno, Sex, Lies, or Kittens? Investigating the Use of Snapchat’s Self-Destructing Messages, pre-proceedings version of a paper appearing at Financial Crypto 2014

Andersen, S. M., Semlali, Y., Nielsen, M. and Rasmussen, I. H. (2013). Vulnerability in Dancing: Creating New Contexts Through Social Media. Copenhagen: Unpublished

“Permanently Desiring the Temporary? Snapchat, Social Media, and the Shifting Motivations of Sports Fans”, Communication & Sport, June 2015

“Selfies and Photo Messaging as Visual Conversation: Reports from the United States, United Kingdom and China”, James E. Katz, Elizabeth Thomas Crocker. International Journal of Communication 9(2015).

Sharing the Small Moments: Ephemeral Social Interaction on Snapchat“, Bayer, J. B., Ellison, N., Schoenebeck, S. Y., & Falk, E. B. (in press). Information, Communication & Society.

“What do they snapchat about?” Patterns of use in time-limited instant messaging service, Computers in Human Behavior Volume 54, January 2016, Pages 358–367

Blogs and Essays

Nathan Jurgenson on ephemeral social media photography in The New Inquiry.  Three of his essays on the Snapchat blog on Temporary Social Media, liquid profiles, and again on temporary photography.

Jenny Davis on ephemerality and trust here at Cyborgology.

Sam Ladner has two posts on social media ephemerality, here and here.

One from Jeremy Antley from his blog.

danah boyd’s thoughts.