Decisions to use technology are often based on an instrumental desire to achieve some immediate result. An enduring principle of effective design is the presentation of clear and comprehensive feedback to the user to facilitate their assessment of whether or not the interaction with a particular object resulted in a desired and expected outcome. However, emerging systems in the realm of social computing appear to often violate this principle as a user is typically provided with limited observable feedback on the full consequences of their ephemeral interactions with the social computing system. The design of such technologies often result in feedback presented to the user which, although sufficiently comprehensive to ensure the users' instrumental need is satisfactorily met, conceals the full spectrum of future consequences. Such limited but ‘sufficient’ feedback may lead to the user continuing to engage with the social computing technology without fully appreciating the entire consequences of same. This limited feedback becomes problematic when considering profile-centric social computing platform use, which is intimately associated with an individuals' identity. Towards addressing this issue, this conceptual paper presents a novel framework, built using a sociomaterial performativity perspective along with an exhibitionist perspective, which seeks to enable current and prospective users to interrogate potential consequences of their intended social computing use. The implications of this a priori interrogation of potential consequences of IT use suggest the importance of questioning the conventional wisdom of “learn by doing” when considering contemporary technologies: indeed “learn before doing” may be more appropriate in certain scenarios.
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