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Context Collapse on Social Networking Sites

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This presentation is about my MSc research relating to the way that multiple groups of acquaintances on social networking sites, such as Facebook, can create environments ripe for context collapse - untailored identity performances to unintended audiences. More info here: http://stefanieduguay.com/?page_id=595

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Context Collapse on Social Networking Sites

  1. 1. Context collapse on social networking sites: Investigating LGBTQ identity disclosure on Facebook Presentation to FEM2103 A, uOttawa November 27, 2013 Stefanie Duguay, MSc. Oxford Internet Institute (Alum)
  2. 2. Impression management Image courtesy of Wikipedia
  3. 3. Context Collapse Image courtesy of neilalderney123
  4. 4. How does context collapse tie into identity presentation? Image courtesy of Eric Constantineau
  5. 5. Stigmatized identities Passing vs. disclosing Image courtesy of The Guardian
  6. 6. Research questions: How do LGBTQ young people experience context collapse on Facebook in terms of: • Their impression management decisions? • Their reactions to context collapse? • Their strategies for dealing with it? • Its effect on their future identity expression? Identity expression Prevention Measures Reactions Context collapse
  7. 7. Methods - Choices WHY? • Facebook • Early adults • Post-secondary students Recruitment • LGBTQ societies • Sought diversity • Snowball sampled when necessary
  8. 8. Methods – Data Collection & Analysis Interviews - Biographical methods - Questions about everyday use - Video-recorded Facebook walkthroughs Analysis “When you were coming out to people, did you put anything on your Facebook?” - F4 for transcription - Dedoose for coding - Cross analysis of video and interview data
  9. 9. Participants • • • • • 27 interviewees; Ages 18-25; Post-secondary students from different UK universities; Gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, and asexual; Out on Facebook to varying degrees.
  10. 10. Definition of the situation & Redefinition “I don't want to run the risk of having a confrontation in real life so if I have it on Facebook they can take it in, deal with it themselves, and then it's over and done with and I never had to say anything.” – Robert* *Names have been changed to protect participants’ confidentiality
  11. 11. Context Collapse “[Having] waved the big lesbian flag, I was really embarrassed when I started to slip up and accidentally have one night stands with men and I definitely remember editing what was visible on my profile page.” - Elizabeth
  12. 12. Context collapse = increased awareness Resulting in two strategies for preventing context collapse: 1. Passing as someone without a stigmatized identity; 2. Separating audiences. Image courtesy of i_yudai
  13. 13. Passing “It doesn’t say like, ‘I am gay.’ It says, ‘I support gay rights’.” - Anah Image courtesy of Artistic Activism
  14. 14. Social Steganography “It would never enter their heads that this equals homosexuality because as far as they can see it's like saying, ‘Oh, well I'm in a picture of me riding a unicorn so unicorns exist.’ It's like no, they wouldn't - they'd assume that it was photoshopped. You know, it just wouldn't enter their heads that this was actually saying I was gay...” - William
  15. 15. Audience Separation Facebook privacy settings, selective friending, and weeding friends out provide some weak barriers. Use of other public platforms changes the meaning of messages and targets desired audiences. Anonymous spaces and pseudonyms allow individuals to construct thick barriers between audiences. Images courtesy of Minecraft Wiki
  16. 16. Sexual Identity and Impression Management on Facebook
  17. 17. Outcomes of Identity Disclosure
  18. 18. Prevention Strategies
  19. 19. A more general model of impression management for environments with reduced contexts?
  20. 20. stefanieduguay.com @DugStef

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