Not just at face value - understanding how the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Facebook members use notions of public and private to perform their identity

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dc.contributor.advisor Ms. Karen Nortje; Prof. Thea de Wet en
dc.contributor.author Joshi, Hemali
dc.date.accessioned 2011-08-25T06:39:30Z
dc.date.available 2011-08-25T06:39:30Z
dc.date.issued 2011-08-25T06:39:30Z
dc.date.submitted 2011
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/3783
dc.description M.A. en
dc.description.abstract Identity is a broad term that has changed across time and within context. This paper focuses specifically on notions of ‘public versus private’ identity within an online context. Within this study I took both a qualitative and quantitative approach as a means of data collection. This research was aimed at answering the one research question: ‘How do UJ Facebook members use notions of public and private to perform their identity?’ I employed a ‘mixed methodology’ of a qualitative and quantitative approach to enable in gaining data. As part of my qualitative research I applied the ethnographic approach; I observed a total of 25 profiles in order to understand the way in which the UJ Facebook members ‘perform’ their identities through their individual profiles. For twelve months I used observations to understand and explore identities of UJ Facebook members. As part of my quantitative research, I randomly selected 105 individuals as a representation of the UJ Facebook group and with the use of a statistics programme (SPSS) I statistically represented my findings. During my twelve months of research I observed individual profiles of UJ Facebook members and focused on ‘identity markers’ to help me to understand how identities are represented within this space. By identity markers, I refer to markers such as name, sex, birth date, relationship status, religious and political viewpoint, and so on. These markers help create a perception of one’s identity based on the information that is filled in when the profile is created by the individual. Thus, both my qualitative and quantitative findings paint a picture of how profile pictures, status updates, walls, information, applications and so on help communicate a message of identity to an ‘outsider’. I have found a tension between public and private performances of identity. In tension, I don’t mean dishonesty but rather the tensions communicated by the UJ Facebook members in the way in which their identities are performed. For example, one of my participants does not indicate her relationship status, but her status updates and wall is a constant communication with her boyfriend. Therefore, at times these messages contradict each other and this tends to raise questions about ‘how public’ and ‘how private’ ones profile really is. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Facebook en
dc.subject Identity (Psychology) en
dc.subject University of Johannesburg en
dc.subject Online social networks
dc.subject Internet markering
dc.subject Relationship marketing
dc.title Not just at face value - understanding how the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Facebook members use notions of public and private to perform their identity en
dc.type Thesis en

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