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A Research Study: College Students, Social Media, and the Self

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( Find out more: http://wp.me/pTIwx-1pT ) The following presentation is from my PhD dissertation proposal hearing. It outlines my study which attempts to inform an understanding of this generation of traditionally aged college students and their relationship with digital and social technologies. Specifically, it aims to understand how college students navigate environments that are saturated by digital and social technologies and how these environments impact students’ psychological sense of self.

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A Research Study: College Students, Social Media, and the Self

  1. College Students, Social Media, and the Self Do social and digital technologies change the way we understand our “self?” Dissertation Proposal Paul Gordon Brown @paulgordonbrown www.paulgordonbrown.com paulgordonbrown@gmail.com
  2. overview ‣ Purpose ‣ Question ‣ Literature ‣ Methodology ‣ Research Design
  3. “I want to study not only what the computer is doing for us, but what it is doing to us.” - Turkle (Turkle, 2004, para 6)
  4. purpose ‣ Purpose ‣ Question ‣ Literature ‣ Methodology ‣ Research Design
  5. The following study attempts to inform an understanding of this generation and their relationship with digital and social technologies. Specifically, it aims to understand how college students navigate environments that are saturated by digital and social technologies and how these environments impact students’ psychological sense of self.
  6. 98% 98 of adults ages 18-29 are on the internet younger generations are using the internet, social media, and mobile technologies at a high rate 89% of adults 18-29 years old use social media 67% access it on mobile 70 70 78% 18-29 70 43% 60% 89% 65+ 50-64 30-49 70 social media use by age (Brenner, 2013; Brenner & Smith, 2013; Pew Internet Project, n.d.)
  7. “Rapidly changing conditions within society have created dramatically different circumstances for students across time and location… student development must be considered in light of these changing scenarios.” (Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, & Renn, 2010, p. 5; Woodard, Love, & Komives, 2000)
  8. Traditional theories held that… “The major achievement of normal development was a firm and fixed ‘sense of identity’” - Gergen (Gergen, 2000, p. 41)
  9. self authorship (Baxter Magolda 1999, 2001; Kegan, 1994) inner identity (Erikson, 1968; Erikson, 1980) identity resolution (Marcia, 1966) identity formation (Chickering & Reisser, 1993)
  10. We no longer exist as playwrights or actors but as terminals of multiple networks. -Baudrillard (Baudrillard, 1987/2012, p. 23)
  11. The online profile “is and is not the user.” BLURRY (Martínez Alemán & Lynk Wartman, 2009, p. 23) HYBRIDIZED SATURATED a “rupture” or “a series of decisive far-reaching breaks from the past” (Bloland, 2005, p. 125) an “implosion” or a collapse of boundaries (Baudrillard, 1981/1995) “singularity… a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed” (Kurzweil, 2005)
  12. “The attempt in this case is to construct an ontology that replaces the vision of the bounded self as the atom of the social world.”” -Gergen (Gergen, 2011, p. 112)
  13. The following study attempts to inform an understanding of this generation and their relationship with digital and social technologies. Specifically, it aims to understand how college students navigate environments that are saturated by digital and social technologies and how these environments impact students’ psychological sense of self.
  14. question ‣ Purpose ‣ Question ‣ Literature ‣ Methodology ‣ Research Design
  15. Question Research How do college students construct concepts of “self” in social media-saturated and hybridized contexts?
  16. this research assumes a youth-normative perspective “attempts to understand young people's experiences through their viewpoint” (Junco, 2014, p. xix)
  17. “Many student affairs professionals use the term digital identity development to refer to online professional self-presentation; however, it is important to tease apart the differences between using social media as part of the exploration and development of identity and using social media to present oneself in a certain way. Labeling the latter digital identity development confounds a developmental process with a professional communication strategy. Furthermore, labeling online professional self-presentation digital identity development may keep the field of student affairs from more critically and deeply examining how the emerging adult identity development process is affected by online interactions.” (Junco, 2014, p. 257)
  18. “At one time it seemed to refer to a conscious sense of individual uniqueness, at another to an unconscious striving for a continuity of experience, and at a third, as a solidarity with a group’s ideals.” - Erikson (Erikson, 1968, p. 208) On identity…
  19. “In examining components of identity, we also need to consider the concept of self… Who or what is the self that observes, learns and decides? If the self is an integrated system, who is in charge of coordinating it? Who organizes the facets of personality into an integrated whole.” - Chickering & Reisser (Chickering & Reisser, 1993, p. 201)
  20. The term “self” refers to one’s sense of being. One’s “sense of self” is the conscious experience of one’s internal life. One’s “construction of self” is how one comes to consciously understand this sense of being. The term “identity” is the actualization of this self.
  21. “Identity” is what one is and carries with it a series of properties. Although “identity” and “self” have been conflated in discourse, they are understood here to be separate but related. “Self” is subject to “identity” as object. From one’s sense of self flows one’s identity (and potentially identities).
  22. literature ‣ Purpose ‣ Question ‣ Literature ‣ Methodology ‣ Research Design
  23. literature ‣ Fragmented ‣ Nascent and growing ‣ Can suffer from being quickly “out of date” ‣ Largely quantitative, outcomes-focused ‣ Theories and frames: ‣ (Co)Constructivsm ‣ Connectivism ‣ Critical Theory and Literacy ‣ Makes distinctions between formal and informal learning
  24. methodology ‣ Purpose ‣ Question ‣ Literature ‣ Methodology ‣ Research Design
  25. qualitative inquiry grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990)
  26. intentionally skewed purposeful extreme sample Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation (Rogers, 2003) An eye towards the future…
  27. participant recruitment College students 18-24 years old ‣ Completing/completed coursework in social media (half) ‣ Identified by college staff has heavy/sophisticated users (half) heavy/sophisticated usage gauged by pre-interview questionnaire. 15-25 participants.. but determined by data exhaustion Student Profile ‣ From a highly selective research university on a residential campus near a major metropolitan area in the Northeast ‣ Likely undergraduate juniors or seniors
  28. Pre-interview Questionnaire ‣ Establish usage patterns of participant Semistructured Interview (First Session, 1 hour) ‣ Probe how students understand self ‣ Examine how sense is made of online/offline life Synchronous Ethnographic Tour * (Second Session, 1 hour) ‣ Observe how students interact online ‣ How is identity constructed/understood Follow-up as necessary—dictated by data data collection * (Martínez Alemán & Lynk Wartman, 2009, p. 23)
  29. constant comparative iterative memoing coding in vivo > focused > axial > theoretical (Saldaña, 2013) saturation will occur when no new theorization emerges determines sample size (Charmaz, 2006; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990) analysis
  30. validity Researcher Lens ‣ Triangulation ‣ Disconfirming Evidence ‣ Reflexivity Study Participant Lens ‣ Member Checking ‣ Prolonged Engagement ‣ Collaboration External Reviewer Reader Lens ‣ Thick and Rich Descriptions ‣ Peer Debriefer (Creswell and Miller, 2000)
  31. ‣Ethical considerations ‣Positionality/Reflexivity ‣Limitations
  32. conclusion ‣ Purpose ‣ Question ‣ Literature ‣ Methodology ‣ Research Design
  33. Question Research How do college students construct concepts of “self” in social media-saturated and hybridized contexts?
  34. College Students, Social Media, and the Self Do social and digital technologies change the way we understand our “self?” Dissertation Proposal Paul Gordon Brown @paulgordonbrown www.paulgordonbrown.com paulgordonbrown@gmail.com
  35. references Baudrillard, J. (1995). Simulacra and simulation. (S. F. Glaser, Trans.). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. (Original work published 1981). Baudrillard, J. (2012). The ecstasy of communication. (B. Schutze, & C. Schutze, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Original work published 1987). Baxter Magolda, M. B. (1999). Creating contexts for learning and self-authorship: Constructive-developmental pedagogy. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press. Baxter Magolda, M. B. (2001). Making their own way: Narratives for transforming higher education to promote self-development. Sterling, VA: Stylus. Bloland, H.G. (2005). Whatever happened to postmodernism in higher education? No requiem in the new Millennium. The Journal of higher education, 76(2), 121-150. Brenner, J. (2013, August 5). Pew Internet: Social networking (full detail). Retrieved from the Pew Research Center website: http://pewinternet.org/ Commentary/2012/March/Pew-Internet-Social-Networking-full-detail.aspx Brenner, J., & Smith, A. (2013, August 5). 72% of online adults are social networking site users. Retrieved from Pew Research Center website: http:// pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/social-networking-sites.aspx Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Chickering, A. W., & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and Identity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Creswell, J. W., & Miller, D. L. (2000, Summer). Determining validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory into practice, 39(4), 124-130. Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Erikson, E. H. (1980). Identity and the life cycle. New York: W. W. Norton and Company. Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F., Patton, L. D., & Renn, K. A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Gergen, K. J. (2000). The saturated self: Dilemmas of identity in contemporary life. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  36. references Gergen, K. J. (2011, January-March). The self as social construction. Psychological Studies, 56(1), 108-116. doi:10.1007/s12646-011-0066-1 Glaser, B. & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine. Junco, R. (2014). Engaging students through social media: Evidence-based practices for use in student affairs. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA. Kegan, R. (1994). In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Kurzweil, R. (2005). The singularity is near: When humans transcend biology. New York, NY: Viking. Marcia, J. E. (1966). Development and validation of ego-identity status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 551-558. Martínez Alemán, A. M., & Lynk Wartman, K. (2009). Online social networking on campus: Understanding what matters in student culture. New York: Routledge. Pew Internet Project. (n.d.). Trend Data: Adults. Retrieved from the Pew Research Center website: http://www.pewinternet.org/Trend-Data-(Adults).aspx Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press. Saldaña, J. (2013). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Turkle, S. (2004, January 30). How computers change the way we think. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/How-Computers- Change-the-Way/10192/ Woodard, D. B., Jr., Love, P., & Komives, S. R. (Eds.). (2000). Leadership and management issues for a new century. New Directions for Student Services, No. 92. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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