The Construction of the Virtual Self on MySpace

Abstract

Social networking Internet sites are transforming the ways youth engage with others in their social worlds. This qualitative study examines communication processes of identity construction within social interactions among emerging adults using MySpace. One-on-one interviews in front of a computer monitor were conducted with five female and five male college students who were active users of MySpace. Participants were videotaped as they gave interviewers a tour of their MySpace profile. Participants reflected on their own profiles to answer questions about online communication and self-presentation. Analysis of the interviews and the profiles was carried out to understand communication on social networking sites, focusing on how features of MySpace are used as tools to construct social identities. Results revealed three major themes: 1) Visual metaphors are employed to display and solidify connection with others. 2) Through photos, users create a visual narrative of social identities connecting past and present social selves. 3) Visual images and multimedia become integrated in the sense of self as the line between advertisement and self-promotion disappears.

Bibliographic citation

Salimkhan, G., Manago, A. M., & Greenfield, P. M. (2010). The Construction of the Virtual Self on MySpace. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 4(1), article 1. Retrieved from https://cyberpsychology.eu/article/view/4231

Keywords

social network sites, self-presentation, online peer interactions, identity, commercialization

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