What Does Gatekeeping Mean?

Gatekeeping in social media refers to the practice where individuals or groups control, limit, or withhold information from others. It can happen in various contexts, such as within online communities, forums, or even among social media influencers. Here are some important points about gatekeeping:

  • **Control of Information**: Individuals or moderators may decide what information should be shared within a group.
  • **Exclusion of Newcomers**: Sometimes, people might prevent newcomers from entering into a community by not sharing essential knowledge or information needed to participate.
  • **Preservation of Status**: By controlling who gets certain information, gatekeepers can maintain their status or authority in a community.

Why Do People Gatekeep on Social Media?

The reasons behind gatekeeping on social media are varied:

  • **Maintaining Quality**: Some believe that by gatekeeping, they can maintain the quality or authenticity of information shared within a community.
  • **Protecting Community Values**: Gatekeepers may feel responsible for protecting the ethos or culture of a group by controlling who joins or what is discussed.
  • **Fear of Change**: Sometimes, gatekeeping stems from a fear that new ideas or people might disrupt the existing order or balance within a community.

What Are the Effects of Gatekeeping?

Gatekeeping can have both positive and negative impacts on online communities:

  • **Positive Impact**: It can help in maintaining the standard and cohesiveness of a community by ensuring that members align with the group’s values.
  • **Negative Impact**: On the downside, it can lead to a lack of diversity and innovation within groups, as new ideas and perspectives are sometimes excluded.
  • **Frustration Among Users**: Those who are kept out of conversations or communities might feel marginalized, which can lead to frustration and a divided user base.

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