Presentation Title

Identity Management in Permanent Digital Spaces

Presenter Information

Abigail HarrisFollow

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Department

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

R. Bruce Thompson, Ph.D.

Abstract

Abstract

Social media platforms have captured and transformed the social experience. Though media content is unique between different platforms, all social media sites share some level of anonymity, asynchronous communication, and absence of non-verbal social cues. This environment provides a landscape where users not only exercise a more conscious management and presentation of self, but also explore creative identity formation processes. Because identity creation is a crucial developmental task, this study investigates the ways that users engage with social media platforms and the impact such engagement has on personal identity management. Methods included a brief personality inventory based on the widely accepted NEO-P-IR. Participants were also asked to self-report their current social media habits including which platform they use most frequently and an approximation of the cumulative time they spend using all social media sites. A subset of those respondents participated in interviews that explored their responses deeper. Preliminary data is suggesting that social media users will maintain accounts on both an identifiable and more anonymous platform, using each site for different identity performances. Initial analysis is also yielding usage themes such as: ease of relationship maintenance, political signaling, and information seeking. Due to the fact that social media is used by a large percentage of the global population, it is crucial that the growing field of cyberpsychology continues research into the motivations of social media users to engage in content creation.

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Identity Management in Permanent Digital Spaces

Abstract

Social media platforms have captured and transformed the social experience. Though media content is unique between different platforms, all social media sites share some level of anonymity, asynchronous communication, and absence of non-verbal social cues. This environment provides a landscape where users not only exercise a more conscious management and presentation of self, but also explore creative identity formation processes. Because identity creation is a crucial developmental task, this study investigates the ways that users engage with social media platforms and the impact such engagement has on personal identity management. Methods included a brief personality inventory based on the widely accepted NEO-P-IR. Participants were also asked to self-report their current social media habits including which platform they use most frequently and an approximation of the cumulative time they spend using all social media sites. A subset of those respondents participated in interviews that explored their responses deeper. Preliminary data is suggesting that social media users will maintain accounts on both an identifiable and more anonymous platform, using each site for different identity performances. Initial analysis is also yielding usage themes such as: ease of relationship maintenance, political signaling, and information seeking. Due to the fact that social media is used by a large percentage of the global population, it is crucial that the growing field of cyberpsychology continues research into the motivations of social media users to engage in content creation.

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