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Originally presented at the University of Delaware in October 2015. This presentation discusses the developmental dimensions of college student engagement with social media and how to engage them online.
“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.” (Junco, 2014, p. 257) @paulgordonbrown
“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)
Mesut reﬂecting on what he
was taught about social media growing up: “I feel like in high school I was always told… “Be careful what you put on your Facebook. Be careful what you put on your Twitter. Blah blah blah. You know people might see it… I had never took that seriously. I thought no one’s gonna look at my Facebook page, you know what I mean? Stuﬀ like that. But it’s crazy how serious that is—just being conscious about the content you put on social media platforms.”
“human development ‘remain[s] much the
same from age to age and must so remain as long as human nature and physical environment existing theories modify/apply (Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, & Renn, 2010, p. 93; Haskins, 1957) continue what they have been. In his relations to life and learning the medieval student resembled his modern successor far more than is often supposed’ (p. 93).”
(Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, &
Renn, 2010, p. 5; Woodard, Love, & Komives, 2000) “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.” develop new theories
• Anger management - Thinking
before posting • Dealing with depression - Self confidence recognizing that social media posts often only show the positive • Expanding and expressing range of positive emotions • Not posting for sympathy or to elicit response form others Managing Emotions DIGITAL
• Ownership over one’s online
life • Able to use social media as a tool for action • Finding information and resources • Resisting peer pressure • Consciously choosing peers and relationships • Basing relationships on equality and reciprocity Autonomy & Interdependence DIGITAL
• Able to engage in
civil discourse through comments and chats • Understanding what online versus offline relationship maintenance should look like - acts appropriately • Thinks about one’s posts and its impact on others Mature Interpersonal Relationships DIGITAL
What is Self-Authorship? A particular
and relatively enduring way of understanding and orienting oneself to provocative situations in a way that: 1) Recognizes the contextual nature of knowledge; and 2) Balances and guides this understanding with the development of internally defined goals and sense of self
Student exploration of social media.
Does not understand how online and ofﬂine interactions can impact each other. Strongly inﬂuenced by authorities and peers. Absolute Knowing 2nd Order digitizedstudentdevelopment
Student exploration of social media.
Does not understand how online and ofﬂine interactions can impact each other. Strongly inﬂuenced by authorities and peers. Student commitment to social media. Develops usage patterns and begins to learn online cultures and etiquette. Strongly inﬂuenced by authorities and peers. Absolute Knowing Transitional Knowing 2nd Order 2nd / 3rd Order digitizedstudentdevelopment
Student exploration of social media.
Does not understand how online and ofﬂine interactions can impact each other. Strongly inﬂuenced by authorities and peers. Student commitment to social media. Develops usage patterns and begins to learn online cultures and etiquette. Strongly inﬂuenced by authorities and peers. Absolute Knowing Student develops an independent identity online Begins to make choices about one’s own representation. Exploration is on student’s terms. Transitional Knowing Individual Knowing 2nd Order 2nd / 3rd Order 2nd / 3rd Order digitizedstudentdevelopment
Student exploration of social media.
Does not understand how online and ofﬂine interactions can impact each other. Strongly inﬂuenced by authorities and peers. Student commitment to social media. Develops usage patterns and begins to learn online cultures and etiquette. Strongly inﬂuenced by authorities and peers. Absolute Knowing Student develops an independent identity online Begins to make choices about one’s own representation. Exploration is on student’s terms. Student makes conscious choices about social media usage and how it ﬁts into life desires, outlook and goals. Realizes that online life is a constant renegotiation process. Transitional Knowing Individual Knowing Contextual Knowing 2nd Order 2nd / 3rd Order 2nd / 3rd Order 4th Order digitizedstudentdevelopment
Liam discussing setting goals for
social media use: “Understand why you’re using social media: Why are you engaging in this app? Why are you letting it consume so much of parts of your day? Is it to connect with friends? Just helping get an understanding of why you do it. I think limiting your amount of time on social media is a good thing to talk about.”
Hallie discussing how social media
creates a perfected image… “I think it was cool that [my professor] asked us think about the highlight reel. Do we use social media as a highlight reel of our lives and how many times out of ten would you say that you wouldn't post something because it's not a highlight. And all of us were like, “Oh, all the time.” He was like, “Go through your day. How many things would you post, and how many wouldn't you?”
…I would just encourage [educators]
to ask their students about recognizing—not necessarily changing it—but recognizing that what they post, and what other people post, isn't 100 percent their lives. Because there's a lot of times when you think that people have the best life ever because of what they're posting. When in reality they're going through a lot, and probably many similar things that you are, but because they're posting all this fun stuﬀ, you think that their lives are perfect.”
Logan discussing how social media
can harm one’s self esteem and self image… “Well I think the biggest problem I faced with social media is… What are your goals from social media? What are you there for? Is it to get updated on your friends and then is that what’s happening?
…For me it’s like if
someone asked me are you really just doing it to… is it only furthering the comparison that’s happening? Since that’s what’s, I assume, causing my greatest dissatisfaction at [college]. Seeing my life in comparison to others. Why? Maybe it’s time to reevaluate. So thinking about what people are trying to get at from their accounts and what they’re actually being used for. I think it’s a helpful thing to reﬂect on.”
Microsystem Mesosystem Exosystem Macrosystem family,
student orgs, groups and contexts… campus rules and cultures… has relationships and broader societal belief systems. Creating an overall context within which interactions and processes occur that impact a student’s development through time.
Microsystem Mesosystem Exosystem Macrosystem “Although
Bronfenbrenner did not include computer- mediated contexts in which college students now experience ‘activities, roles, and interpersonal relations’ (p. 16), in the twenty-ﬁrst century it seems reasonable to include these contexts, which are not face-to-face settings, in the deﬁnition of microsystems since they are sites where social, physical, and symbolic features may provoke or retard engagement with the environment, as described by Bronfenbrenner (1993).” p.1
Microsystem Mesosystem Exosystem Macrosystem is
in network with others… is immersed in social media site culture… and is subject to rules and decisions made by social media designers… …and broader beliefs about how the site functions and is used.
examples context collapse • A
someone comments on a social media post intended for a diﬀerent audience • When a friend sees something online and makes assumptions about your life oﬄine • When an online post is taken out of context of the conversation surrounding it online
learning context collapse • Learning
rules of digital reputation through consequences • Understanding the complex overlapping nature of relationships • Learn to with between worlds, relationships and languages
“The major achievement of normal
development was a ﬁrm and ﬁxed ‘sense of identity’” - Gergen Traditional theories held that… (Gergen, 2000, p. 41)@paulgordonbrown
We no longer exist as
playwrights or actors but as terminals of multiple networks. -Baudrillard (Baudrillard, 1987/2012, p. 23)@paulgordonbrown
BLURRY HYBRIDIZED SATURATED The online
proﬁle “is and is not the user.” (Martínez Alemán & Lynk Wartman, 2009, p. 23) 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) @paulgordonbrown
Adie discussing her friend who
is constantly on social media: “I guess she experiences a lot of fo-mo in general…. it's like you're consuming other peoples' lives through social media. I guess that might appeal to some people, in a sense, not that they're necessarily upset that they missed the event that someone else was at because that person posted at it, but you get to experience what you were doing and what your friend was doing based on their post. So in a way it's like you're passing on that experience.”
Question Research How do college
students conceptualize who they are and how they present themselves when they are engaged in digital and social media? @paulgordonbrown
Maria’s advice for college administrators
educating college students about social media: “I think I'd say not to phrase it as a cautionary tale, because it’s something that we’re never gonna listen to… we know we know more than administrators with social media. So I think it should be more about trying to really understand how we use it, and not just look at it negatively, because I think it's so stigmatized, but really understand how to work with it, because it's not going away.”
Ashley discussing being vulnerable online…
“I would deﬁnitely say that social media is a way to hide your true self and feelings and… I think people need to be aware of that and reﬂective of that when they're on it. I also think a huge part of social media is hiding your vulnerability. I think in society today people look down upon people who are vulnerable and try to hide their vulnerability as much as possible. And they think social media helps people hide their vulnerability because they're hiding behind it in ways.
I think the only way
that people can become more comfortable in their being vulnerable is having conversations with others about being vulnerable. So I think that that could be something that college administrators could start… help students realize in social media, and just in college life in general, we need to stop trying to hide our vulnerabilities, and instead be reﬂective on them and realize what they need and how you can connect to others through them.”
Gatsby on the importance of
colleges and universities engaging through social media: “I think having [oﬃcial college social media] accounts is really important—the likes, the retweets, things like that… in a way it’s a reminder in the back of your head: ‘There are important people that can see this.’ Which I don’t think is a scare tactic, but it’s just a good reminder and something that colleges can do subconsciously to show students more that they care, but then also remind the students, be smart about what you’re putting on your Twitter or tweeting at [college], because they’ll respond.”
Engage with students on social
media because we need to understand them in all of their contexts. Be open to a different (not necessarily better or worse) way. Learn from and with students how to navigate the online environment. Help them avoid mistakes. Help them understand their self- presentation and reputation online. Be a role model. Understand how social media may impact the developmental process-both in light of current theory and in ways we do not yet understand. Be able to help students understand, navigate and leverage it.
integrated marketing team managers Kath
Bukis Print Shop Manager Chloe Corsi Manager Catherine O’Malley BSUlife.com Editor in Chief Jessica Laudati Design Team Manager Emily Cohn Video Team Manager Laura Lawton Social Media Manager 5 5 7 5 6 2
0 25 50 75 100
Facebook Instragram Twitter Pintrest LinkedIn Social Media Platform Adoption (2014) Age comparison 18-29 yo 65+ yo Source: Pew Research Center Social Media Update 2104 @paulgordonbrown
0 25 50 75 100
Facebook Instragram Twitter Pintrest LinkedIn Social Media Platform Adoption (2014) Household income comparison Less than 30k/yr More than 75k/yr 30k- 30k- 75k+ 75k+ 75k+ Source: Pew Research Center Social Media Update 2104 @paulgordonbrown
0 25 50 75 100
Facebook Instragram Twitter Pintrest LinkedIn Social Media Platform Adoption (2014) Race comparison White Hispanic Black Black Black Black White White Source: Pew Research Center Social Media Update 2104 @paulgordonbrown
0 25 50 75 100
Facebook Instragram Twitter Pintrest LinkedIn Social Media Platform Adoption (2014) Sex comparison Men Women Women Women Men Women Men Source: Pew Research Center Social Media Update 2104 @paulgordonbrown
1st Year 2nd Year 3rd
Year 4th Year Quick to “friend” people Want to appear popular Self esteem is in part measured by likes More likely to use Facebook Communicates primarily with close friends Understands need to get on Linkedin and make connections Facebook is for lurking and events, but not engagement @paulgordonbrown
Topic Examples % Leadership Articles
Found on the Web; Added to our blog from student class assignments 40% Highlights Proﬁles of staff, student leaders, and highlights of student organizations 30% Pride Photos Photos of our mascot, photos from events 10% Deadlines Informational: org fair sign-ups, last day of classes, last day to drop classes 20% Modiﬁed from Gross, 2014
Outcomes 1. Develop relationships with
your students 2. Develop community 3. Model appropriate online behavior 4. Customer service 5. Marketing and information sharing 6. Reading student culture/discourse @paulgordonbrown