Date of Award
Derigan Silver, Ph.D.
Facebook, Identity, MySpace, SNS, Teen
Based on in-depth interviews, this thesis examines how teens use Social Networking Sites (SNSs) to negotiate their identities. The thesis concludes that SNSs, such as MySpace and Facebook, facilitate a social connectivity that influences how teens portray themselves online. The process of constructing a self-presentation, receiving input from peers, and then modifying one's self-presentation in response is not new, but the speed at which it occurs and the very public way it is displayed on an SNS constitutes a change in how teens understand the ways in which they make and constantly remake their identities. The findings suggest that, as previous literature has noted, SNSs are pervasive and ubiquitous in the lives of teens. However, it also concludes that SNSs are not uniform and that teens use SNSs differently, an aspect of SNSs previous literature has not consistently addressed. The thesis posits that whereas MySpace serves as a means for representation, Facebook is primarily a tool for group communication, and a recent migration from Facebook to MySpace reveals the importance of group membership and group connectivity to teen identity. In addition, the thesis finds the teens' SNSs' pages are reflections of identity that are in large part reactions to others' perceptions of the identities displayed on profile pages, as well as attempts to reflect an authentic identity. These concepts are particularly well represented by the idea of identity as bricolage, the ongoing process of constructing and deconstructing, submitting and omitting, and organizing of mediated communication to present an online identity.
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Lynn, Alexis, "The Digitally Born Identity: The Influence of Social Networking Sites on Teen Identity" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 387.
Received from ProQuest