Facebook as Organizing, yet not Transforming, Self-experience


Risa Muchnick

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Peter Buirski

First Committee Member

Kimberly Gorgens

Second Committee Member

Amy Ginsberg


Intersubjectivity; Self psychology; Facebook; Transforming


Facebook and other forms of social media (SM) are virtually constructed but interacted with psychologically. Much research in the field of psychology has been done on excessive, or "addictive" Internet use, with increased attention paid to use of SM sites in particular. Sociology has also contributed to the exploration of trends, group phenomena, and patterns of excessive or non-excessive Internet or SM use, leaving us with a rich understanding of the ubiquity of SM participation across the world. From these areas of inquiry comes an interesting question about SM use for the world of relational theory, in particular self psychology (SP) and intersubjective systems theory (IST). It is clear that SM users become attached to their site or sites of choice, and various ideas have been posited about why. This paper proposes that this attachment occurs because SM shares various characteristics with selfobject experience, thus making its use attractive to those searching for missing selfobject experience or the correction of painful self-experience from the past. I will discuss how selfobject experience transforms; outline the way in which SM mimics selfobject experience; how such characteristics are alluring to those craving selfobject experience; and how the unique interaction between the user and the SM site determines whether the site contributes to transforming growth-promoting experience or becomes a form of organizing but not transforming self-experience.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


34 pages

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