Grand Theft Auto V: A Study in Embedded Social Media

by Ken Mueller on November 13, 2013 · 7 comments


This guest post is from Amanda Michko, one of my students at PCA&D, and was done as part of a blogging assignment for the class. 

Social Media makes up a good portion of most peoples’ lives anymore. The makers of Grand Theft Auto V took this into account and heavily incorporated social media into their game. Each of the three characters that you can play as has an “Ifruit” phone. On this phone they can browse the web and view “Bleeter”, the game’s form of Twitter, and their own “LifeInvader”, which mimics Facebook.

The main characters cannot actually post anything on  “Bleeter” or “LifeInvader”, but their friends do post comments on their walls concerning what missions you’ve completed and on “Bleeter” you can see Bleets from everyone in Los Santos. I’ve finished the main storyline and the Bleeter in my game displays a total of 47 pages of Bleets with 10 Bleets per page. On top of these two social media platforms there is a function on the “Ifruit” called “SnapMatic” which is essentially Instagram. Characters can either take photos of whatever they want in front of them or take “selfies.”

Social Media and Gaming

The way all of this connects to our own social media is anyone who has GTA V can sign up for a free account on Rockstar Games real life social media platform “Social Club”. This is made up of a community of people who play GTA V as well as other Rockstar Games. Within this site you can go onto “LifeInvader” pages of businesses within GTA V and “Stalk” them, which is basically “liking” them. When you do this you get discounts within the game. On each of these pages there are posts that you can “Stalk,” comment, or share on your actual Facebook or Twitter.

On top of this you can view others’ images they’ve taken in game using “SnapMatic” and you can comment, like, or share these on Facebook or Twitter as well. Grand Theft Auto V also has a companion app that you can use on your smartphone. In this companion app you can access your Social Club Account, play with Chop the dog, customize you car in Los Santos Customs, and access “LifeInvader”.

Art Imitates Life

snapmatic ad

Even though GTA V pokes fun at social media so much and so often, they are guilty of using it in a very effective way. “LifeInvader” has two taglines:

“The reason the world never gets anything done anymore”


“Information isn’t about imparting knowledge anymore. The internet changed that”

The tagline for “Bleeter” isn’t actually bad but the description makes up for that:

“Bleeter is the perfect storm of blogging, social networking, and text messaging. We’re demolishing 100,000 years of complex linguistic development 140 characters at a time”. 

They created a fantastically immersive game with so much social media to play around with, that just browsing the Internet in-game can leave you wondering where the previous two, or more, hours went.

Have you ever experienced the world of social media within Grand Theft Auto V or any other video games?

headshot (1)


Amanda Michko is a senior graphic design major at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. Her work can be found on Behance. When she isn’t doing design or illustration work, she is usually playing video games. It is arguably her secondary passion in life and she plans to start incorporating gaming more into her design work with her senior thesis.




This game is so fun but there is adult content but i know that what they show is just in a game and to not do any of it plus i know about all that stuff i wouldn't recommend this game for anyone under the age of 11 though.


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Do you think it's an added benefit that the gaming networks have an exclusive feel to them? Also, as a mother of potential gamers, I'm now wondering if this is something I need to monitor. I know... I'm a party-pooper.

KenMueller moderator

@BeckyWoodh I think that exclusivity probably works well in games as they are very communal. And I would say you need to monitor it in the same way you monitor that actual games they are playing, as in age appropriate. By the time they are able to handle a game like GTAV, they can probably handle the other stuff. It's not for younger kids.


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