Elizabeth Koenig Creating Identity in a Digital Age: The Facebook Addiction
What is Facebook? • www.facebook.com • “Social Utility”
You're Studying That? • I love Facebook • Others love Facebook, too
6.8% of global Internet users visit Facebook (Alexa 2008) average usage time of 20 minutes (Facebook 2007). Usage Statistics • 70 million active users(Facebook 2007). • average of 200,000 new users every day (Facebook 2007). • sixth most trafficked website in the world (Facebook 2007).
Questions • What is the attraction to Facebook? • How do Facebook users construct their online identities?
Methods • Snowball Sampling • Profile page analysis • Interviews
Limitations • Privacy Restrictions • Personal Bias
Analysis • Forms of Capital (Bourdieu) • Looking-Glass Self (Cooley)
Forms of Capital (Bourdieu) • Cultural Capital • cultural connections that represent you • why do you like what you like?
Social Capital • The connections you have with others • Benefits (on a large scale): • Better health • Lower crime rates • Community commitment
Forms of Capital and Profiles • Use Cultural Capital to fill out profile • Profile is used to gain Social Capital
Example “I think in a way I kind of create the person that I would want to present my self through, like knowing, for instance, if someone was to look at it [my profile] I would want them to see me the way I wanted everyone to see me. Like, I put myself on there as the best way that I can. And I put things on there that I want people to know about me. Opposed to like, things that are true but I don’t care if anyone knows. Like for my interests, I have lots of interests, but I keep them as ones that I want people to know I’m interested in.”
Social Capital and “Weak Ties” • Communication Tool • “Weak Ties” • Social connection that requires little effort • Good /Bad “Computer Veil”
Positive Example “it’s kind of like being at a party, without the awkward part, like, you can talk to anyone you want to talk to and if you feel uncomfortable talking to them you can poke them, and so, it’s a really good way to feel like you’re part of a community without actually having any awkward parts of being part of a community.”
Negative Example “I feel that a lot has been lost with the way we communicate now, like through email, electronically, because I feel like a lot of the things that people say they wouldn’t have the audacity to say if they were talking on the phone or face to face, so I feel like communication has been degraded in a way through depending on the computer so much, making it less genuine... “
Looking-Glass Self (Cooley) Self Assessment in Three Parts:
Through the Facebook Looking-Glass • Read another users profile • Read their own profile judging it through the “eyes” of the other • Judging themselves/their profile in reaction
Example “sometimes I’ll go and look at groups of people I’m with, and [think] like, what people from home think about me and my friends here, and what people here may think about me and my friends at home.”
How do users construct their online identities? • Users display their Cultural Capital on profile pages to create their online identities.
Why do so many people like Facebook so much? • Users gain Social Capital • Users can use the looking-glass self to evaluate their identities
Photo Credits • http://bp2.blogger.com/_2ph2upGQFUg/Rp8jW2feSEI/AAAAAAAAACg/77pmfUKBY0A/s1600-h/29_3_facebook.jpg • http://www.collegeotr.com/images/blogs/d6f4650b38a21721af80d15b4c8ef44b.jpg • http://www.kerching.tv/facebook.gif • http://www.profilepounder.com/pics/comments/online_friends/onlineFriends24%5B1%5D.gif • http://www.studentsshopper.com/images/halloween/facebook.jpg • www.cartoonstock.com/directory/f/facebook.asp • http://www.nmubaseball.net/uscho/ch-halloween.jpg • http://images.theglobeandmail.com/archives/RTGAM/images/20070612/wlfacebook12/facebook_500big.jpg
The End • Hey Thanks! • Dr. Ben Feinberg • Dr. Laura Vance • All who contributed to my data • Jes Wooten • My friends