Toward a network hospitality
The growing popularity of online hospitality exchange networks like Couchsurfing and Airbnb point toward a new paradigm of sociality for a mobile and networked society as hospitable encounters among friends and strangers become entangled with social media and networking technologies. Inspired by Andreas Wittel’s notion of ‘network sociality’, this paper introduces the concept of ‘network hospitality’ to describe the kind of sociality that emerges around these new mobile, peer–to–peer, and online–to–off–line social networks. This article discusses five key features of network hospitality — sharing with strangers, feeling like a guest, engineering randomness, pop–up assemblages, and guests without hosts — and illustrates how network hospitality is implicated in the way people now ‘do togetherness’ online, off–line, and in between.
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