Social Media & Identity Construction
Peterson, Stephanie G.
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The purpose ofthe current-study was to investigate the ways in which college-age adults are using social networking sties, most specifically to present themselves online. Four focus groups were conducted among 18-24-year-old participants, male and female, 4 to 6 participants per group, with 20 total participants. Each group was asked a series of questions taken from a previously designed protocol about their use of Face book and other social networking sites to construct online profiles and thus, identities. Participants were asked to discuss positive and negative experiences online, the experience of having an online presence, how relationships are formed and maintained online, and the ways in which they use devices to stay connected online and finally about future implications of increased usage of the internet and its many available networks and virtual communities. Seven themes were coded using Strauss' (1987) grounded theory. Those themes are: Relationships, Maintenance, Portrayal of Self, Self-Evolution, Digital Evolution, [False Sense of] Privacy, and The Unknown.