The Impact of Social Networking Sites in the Identity Formation

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION During the old days when teens spent hours alone in their rooms or with close friends dancing in front of the mirror, playing outside their houses, trying different outfits and modeling around the corner; trying on different personas in person is out, the web deletes the middle man. Now, there are a variety of online social media applications to enable communication between adolescents. Due to the ego-centric nature of these applications, social networking sites allow adolescents to extend their true personalities to the online world while also adding onto them.

The impersonal nature of communicating from behind a computer screen can allow adolescents to create a completely new and unrestrained personality that they would never show in real life. Personal web pages give teens the control to present themselves in whatever way they choose to an actual audience that’s also controllable and far less intimidating than showing up in person to try out a new possible identity (Schmitt et al. , 2008).

The Internet has quickly become the most expeditious, central means of communication and access to information so it makes perfect sense that this trend in media would trickle down to impact the lives of youth everywhere. There are numerous reasons why the internet has become the chosen means by which adolescents discover their identity. Adolescents find that the internet and social personal web pages offer them a safe place to try on different ‘hats’ or try out new personalities without the fear of rejection or embarrassment and the normal risks associated with real life trials of the same magnitude (Schmitt et al. 2008). The internet, especially sites like Facebook offer prominent places for youth to put themselves out there in a textural/multimedia forum for others to see. Subsequently, adolescents are able to garner an audience of as many or as few as they feel comfortable with and also gain access to other teens with whom they would never regularly have any interaction with.

They can also experience self disclosure effects via revealing personal information about themselves to others which can lead to deep interpersonal relationships forming online with varying degrees of intimacy, which maybe they have not done yet in the real world because they don’t feel comfortable (Schmitt et al. , 2008). Adolescent personal web pages are focused solely on self presentation, effectively allowing the adolescent to tell others who they are (and sometimes give cues about who they want to be) through the content on their page.

The ambiguity and sense of decreased inhibition on the web allows youth to feel like they are less likely to experience inhibitions that one faces in the real world and more likely to experience the desirable sensation of being known by other people, which becomes increasingly important to youth during this stage in their development (Schmitt et al. , 2008). The web has a feeling of safety and privacy for many adolescents, especially if they have access to a computer in their bedroom with unrestricted access so it makes for the perfect situation for them to explore themselves through online presentation.

Ironically, the reasons behind adolescent use of social networking sites and personal web pages closely parallel the reasons why adults use the very same social media to delve deeper into their true, idealized, and various other selves (Schmitt et al. , 2008). Online social networking sites specifically Facebook, had become widespread and popular among many, especially adolescents. It becomes clear that social networking sites allow adolescents to speak freely and to reveal their desired personalities, in addition to the rare moments of truth.

The computer screen acts as a shield for adolescents who see that they can say whatever they want. Although myths about online identities exist, adolescents rarely think about the consequences of their online actions. Online social networks, then, allow adolescents to create personal profiles and participate in interactions with others who are also part of the world around them. They do not realize that what they say lacks privacy and that their online profiles create a particular perception of them.

Social networking sites can hinder adolescent identity formation because they allow adolescents to exaggerate their personalities to form a new identity and force them to find a balance between their true and desired personalities. In the field of Psychology, Sociology, and Communication, social interactions are essential in our understanding of the human development and advancement of technology. A new forum, which is available for all ages, often take place in the Internet, specifically Facebook, which offers selection of social interactions, sharing of thoughts, entertainment, beliefs in the form of symbolic meanings and etc.

This new aspect of communication has spurred numerous studies in which “researchers are scrambling to understand the phenomenon almost as quickly as the technology advances” (Williams and Merten, 2008). With the number of individual engaging in social interactions via internet, there is a need for further researches to comprehend us with the impact of online social networks on social and self identity of an adolescent. Social interaction is a negotiation of identities between people in a given environment. One’s identity is comprised of both a personal internal identity and a public social identity.

As people engage socially, they project aspects of their internal identity into a social identity for others to perceive. Based on the situation, people only present a particular facet of their internal identity for consideration. Depending on their own need to self-monitor, an individual manages what is to be seen dependent on the environment, thereby creating a social performance where they offer different faces to convey different facets of their identity. The goal of such monitoring is to manage the impressions that others might perceive, to convey the appropriate information at the appropriate time.

In order to assess what is appropriate, people draw from situational and interpersonal contextual cues. By understanding the social implication of context cues and perceiving the reactions presented by others, an individual is given social feedback to adjust their behavior to fit the situation in the hopes of being perceived in the desired light. As people engage socially, they are continually drawing from their own experiences to perceive others and the environment and presenting aspects of their identity that they deem appropriate to the situation.

Yet, this negotiation occurs with little conscious effort. Online social interaction is not as simple. The underlying architecture of the online environment does not provide the forms of feedback and context to which people have become accustomed. The lack of embodiment makes it difficult to present one’s self and to perceive the presentation of others. As people operate through digital agents, they are forced to articulate their performance in new ways.

According to Eriksonian principles, adolescents need to explore and experiment with the world around them in order to understand the self in relation to that world. Successful identity formation depends on an individual’s ability to resolve issues involving relationships, popular culture, religion, political views, education, sexuality, substance abuse, rebellion, and career choices (Arledge, 2008). Waterman furthers Erikson and Marcia’s Ego Identity Status by focusing on the lasting and essential benefits of self-expression and creativity as additional components of identity formation and emotional well being.

Keeping these needs in mind and the fact that over half of teens interact online, one cannot negate or ignore the significance of online social networks on adolescent identity formation. The Internet provides an unrestricted laboratory setting for adolescent identity experimentation as they seek to understand how they fit into the world around them (Arledge, 2008). Personal web pages, particularly social networking sites are not only becoming a more popular means of identity construction among adolescents, but they’re very functional too.

Self disclosure is equally important to identity formation and the web is an easy way to present such information to others in a way that they feel more comfortable with and this can facilitate and deepen interpersonal relationships among peers. It was reported that the study of Lenhart and Fox done in 2006 utters: individuals participate on blogs and/or online social networks because they want to express themselves and interact with other people. Both of these reasons can be subject to affect the adolescent on the midst of identity crises, established experimentation and investigation.

Online social networks, then, allow adolescents to create personal profiles and participate in interactions with others who are also part of the world around them. Forums, where starting topics develop; it can be a way of expressing opinions about certain topics that allows self-expression and ownership of ideas. These online social networkings are instrumental components of the process of adolescent identity formation. Its potential impact of online social networking on adolescents should not be underrated. Adolescents face major challenges and changes that must be resolve and clarify.

Conversing about topics that are modern or “popular” can provide a starting point for conversations between teens, and expressing opinions about these topics allows for self-expression and ownership of ideas. Online social networkings are instrumental components of the process of adolescent identity formation. “As adolescents explore their identity, they will go through behavioral patterns that on the surface may appear to be cause for concern, but are actually developmentally appropriate and healthy” (Williams and Merten 2008, p. 257).

The potential impact of online social networking on adolescents should also not be underrated or ignored. Adolescents face significant challenges that have to be resolved during adolescence, and studies cited in the following literature review demonstrate that teens need to experiment with ideologies, engage in self-expression, interact socially with peers, and participate in some venues without parental presence. In addition, the research covered in the literature review defines the role of popular culture and online social networking as integral parts of the adolescent’s experience.

Because of these ideas regarding with the online social networks that can be an active agent in the identity formation of the adolescents, the researchers came up with a pioneering qualitative research regarding with this topic. The researchers wanted to explore different aspects and factors that might have an influence to the identity of adolescents concerning their active participation in an online social network like Facebook through this research study. In particular, we will emphasize the call for self-expression and self-presentation. By being aware of their behavior, individuals are able to monitor their own presentation.

Likewise, by having the tools to control what aspects of their identity are presented, people can more appropriately organize their presentation. Awareness and control can provide some of the missing feedback that inhibits certain types of social interaction. Our goal in this research study is to reflect on the existing forms of social interaction and process such as self-expression and self-presentation, so as to offer suggestions for the formation of identity with the help the process mentioned above and the presence of social networking sites.

This research will also present a solid overview of the process that is in progress in adolescent, as has also their significance within networking sites. This will be the start of continuous research for the rapid changing field and the implications of increasing advancement of technology, communication and interactions. As mentioned above, social networking sites today are an important factor in shaping the identity of a young individual’s identity.

This study also contributes to the current body of research that supports the view that online social interaction is actually beneficial to psychological and sociological development. Statement of the Problem This research study aimed to determine the online social network as an active agent in the identity formation of the selected adolescents in Letran-Calamba S. Y. 2010-2011. Specifically, this study intended to answer the following questions: 1. What are the factors that trigger the selected adolescent of Letran-Calamba S. Y. 2010-2011 to create their personal account on facebook? . How does self-expression and self-presentation influence the self identity of the selected adolescent? 3. How does self-expression and self-presentation influence the social identity of the selected adolescent? 4. How does self identity and social identity take part in the identity formation of the selected adolescent? 5. What is the role of social networking sites in the identity formation of the selected adolescent? 6. What is the impact of social networking sites in the identity formation of selected adolescent? Theoretical Framework

The researchers derive their theoretical framework based on the following theories: The first basis of this study is the popular developmental theory of Erik Erikson which is the psychosocial theory wherein each stage of human development presents its characteristic crises. Coping well with each crisis makes an individual better prepared to cope with the next. Although specific crises are most critical during particular stages, related issues continue to arise throughout a person’s life. The stage included in this study is the fifth stage, identity versus role confusion.

The fifth phase is the period of adolescence, which inevitably also contains the crisis of adolescence. At this stage, the individual begins for the first time to create identities in relation to the wider social environment and not only in relation to the immediate family circle. In interaction with his peers he is seeking confirmation of his own individual identity, and thus differentiating from family identity and seeks his own expression. He begins to place himself inside social functioning, in which he is imposed by an increasing responsibility to being assigned with social roles. A positive solution of the crisis requires from the individual that he excepts himself, his whole psychophysical personality, but also acceptance of other people, recognition for his actions and support in his efforts to integrate to society”. The success of every crisis resolving, therefore, depends on the success of solving the previous crises, which means that it is very important in which kind of a family environment he is growing up, as this provides him with a base for further social inclusions. The theory of Harry Stack Sullivan makes an impact to this study.

He emphasized the importance of relationship and communication for teenagers. His theory explains the principal forces of human development as being social instead of biological. His social theory is enlightening when used to examine adolescent development and the impact on individual of peer groups, friendships, peer pressure, and intimacy in essence, Sullivan states that positive peer relationship, during adolescence are essential for healthy development, and that negative peer relationships will lead to unhealthy development, such as depression, eating disorders, drug abuse, delinquency, or criminal behavior.

Based on James E. Marcia’s Identity Statuses, it is important to distinguish between crisis and commitment in identity development. Crisis is a period of identity development during which the adolescent is choosing among meaningful alternatives. Most researchers now use the term exploration rather than crisis, although, in the spirit of Marcia’s original formulation, we will use the term crisis. Commitment is defined as the part of identity development in which adolescents show a personal investment in what they are going to do (Santrock, 2006).

He classified an individual’s extent of crisis and commitment into four identity statuses: Identity Achievement or adolescents with developed identity are those who have successfully resolved their identity crisis; Identity Foreclosure or adolescents with an adopted identity do not resolve their identity crisis through their own exploration of them self, but adopt the means to do so from significant others, mainly parents; Identity Moratorium or adolescents in moratorium stage are still resolving their identity crisis through research (in this context, they are the opposite of adolescents with an adopted identity); and Adolescents with identity diffusion are those individuals who were not able to explore the end of their potential, and do therefore withdraw to solitude, or give them self up. Alan S. Waterman added a component of James Marcia which seems vital in today’s fast paced world of computers and popular culture. Waterman argued that personal expression actually increased the solidity of identity formation, ego identity, and psychological well being and argues that “personal expressiveness” should be an additional dimension to Marcia’s identity statuses, which is based on the theory of Alan Waterman.

Building on the idea of intrinsic motivation and the Greek concept of eudemonism, recognizing and living by values in accordance with the “true self,” Waterman proposes that these components of personal expression will actually increase psychological health and well being. Applying Waterman’s theory of the adolescent need for personal expressiveness as part of identity formation supports the research that examines the ways in which online social networks within the context of popular culture are different from passive mediums such as television or films. Individuals observe elements of culture around them and then respond, which is a way of exploring and identifying with others who share similar ideals. Expression of these ideas is also what actually creates a culture.

In contrast, being unable to express an opinion or idea to another person or group stifles the exploration process necessary for healthy, normal identity formation which is essential for psychological well-being later in life (Arledge, 2008). For George Herbert Mead, identity is a continuous process that is taking place when the individual is placing himself within group operations with symbolic exchange. As such, it is not static, but the expression of purely subjective instances or objective, social impacts. It is the synergy of the two components, the social self or Me, which is defined by the ability of accustoming to other people, and the personal self or I, which is inaccessible to social determination and social control.

The latter is the answer to the first, thus to the then socially mediated idea of the role of the individual in the eyes of others. The reflexive consciousness (Mind) is the one that allows the individual to evaluate his own actions, and the impact of the acts of others to the individual, in a knowingly and reflexive manner (Meden, 2009). On the other hand, Social Capital Theory point out the importance of social capital for the ability of individuals from different social groups to attain positive development. This conceptualization of context stresses the importance of looking at sociological factors external to the individual (Bradley & Corwyn, 2002) s the stratification of society may cause unequal distribution of developmental assets thus enhancing or constraining development (Schachter & Ventura, 2008). While according to Erving Goffman’s “dramaturgical approach” or “theater analogy” that explains impression management, he compares it with a theater with actors that present themselves to others. In everyday life, people also make self-presentations. Instead of following a script, however, people decide by themselves how to perform in a front stage area for a particular audience. Then people withdraw backstage, where they can put aside their onstage role, check their appearance, and reapply make-up.

Impression management and Goffman’s theater analogy also seem to apply to social networking profiles. People think about their identities. For example, I think of myself as a photographer. Then people think about others with similar identities. For example, I would consider how photographers present themselves in public. Then people create a profile to present their identity to others (Kenney, 2009). Conceptual Framework The researchers use the conceptual framework as the basis of their study. Facebook as a sample of well-known social network sites can be an active agent in the identity formation of adolescents. Adolescents may express and present themselves in different manner they liked.

Through their self-expression and self-presentation in the their account in Facebook it is two of the many ways adolescents can establish their identity, particularly in their self and to other people, wherein the social identity can have an influence to their self-identity vice versa and that can have impact on the identity formation of the adolescents. Figure 1. The Impact of social networking sites in the identity formation of selected adolescents of Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba A. Y. 2010-2011 Significance of the Study The outcome of the study will be relevant to the respondents, parents, researchers, psychology students, Colegio and the future researchers. The research will be beneficial for the respondents to gain awareness about their Identities, on how online social network influences their self and social identities. The study will also be a guide on what to improve unto self identity and social identity.

To the parents, that the study will give them idea about the impact of Online Social Network on the identity formation of their child, so that they may guide them to allow or not their child to frequently visit the social network site. This will also explain significant behavior, changes, relationships and personality of the child. To the youth, who are the most dominating members who’s joining the most popular social network, the study can assist them up to what extent they can go on exploring themselves through interacting with online social network. To provide them sufficient information about the implication of such to their growth as well as the other factors affecting their identity formation.

To the researchers, so that they will be able to gain understanding about the whole process of conducting their study and may relate and give additional knowledge that they can apply to their professions. The study will also provide them satisfaction and fulfilment, that they can contribute such study to their progress and acquaintances. To the Psychology students, that the study will provide value of the existence of the program. The study will also provide inspiration to create further spectacular studies to assist mankind. This study will also elevate the standards of excellence towards researches done under the Psychology division. To the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Calamba, the study will contribute to the increasing number of studies used for expansion of knowledge of the students and will be a self-righteous product of the Colegio.

The future researchers will also benefit in this study, this will equip them with various data that will support their on-going studies and furthermore, to confer idea to conduct future studies related to this topic. This can be used as future reference and guide for them. Objective of the Study This research study aimed to achieve the following: 1. To discover the contributing factors that made the respondents join social networking sites. 2. To find out the influence of self-expression and self-presentation on the self identity. 3. To find out the influence of self-expression and self-presentation on the social identity. 4. To verify the connection of social identity and self identity on the identity formation. 5. To present the role of social networking sites on the identity formation of adolescent. 6.

To determine the impact of social networking sites on the identity formation of adolescent. Scope and Limitation This study focuses on the meaning, values, impact, importance and risks of social networking sites in the adolescents today. Tackles new development and future trends set by the social networking sites. This study is limited to the students ages 12 – 18 years old and currently enrolled in Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba A. Y. 2010-2011. Self-presentation and self-expression will be taken into account in identifying the impact on the identity formation of selected respondents in active participation with social networking sites, specifically Facebook.

Since the Facebook catches the attention of the adolescents, the researchers choose to focus only to Facebook site for the reason that it is the top most viewed social networking site here in the Philippines and other countries. Definition of Terms The following are the different terms used to modify the Impact of Social Networking Sites in Identity Formation of the selected adolescents of Letran-Calamba A. Y. 2010-2011 and to help the readers undertand this study: Adolescent. Based on the developmental life-span of Erik Erikson. The teenage- stage of an individual, ages 12(Twelve) to 18 (Eighteen). Facebook. Considers the world’s largest social network, with over 500 million users.

Used for activities like entertainment, Instant Messaging, blogging and where the users have the freedom of expression regarding creating and manipulating the visual background and spatial adjustment of information boxes. Identity. Conceptualized as an internalized, self-selected regulatory system that represents an organized and integrated psychic structure that requires the developmental distinction between the inner self and outer social world. Identity Formation. A personal continuity and uniqueness from others. It is the phase where in physical growth, sexual maturation and impending career choices take place. Impact. Have an effect upon and can also be defined as influencing strongly impression of one thing on another. The power of making a strong and immediate impression. (free dictionary by Farlex) Personal Identity.

It is the off line or the real identity of an individual. It is constituted by the ability to sustain a narrative about the self. This includes the capacity to build up a consistent feeling of biographical continuity. Self-expression. Expression of one’s own personality, feelings, or ideas, as through speech or art. (American heritage by Houghton Mifflin company). Self-presentation. Presenting or displaying one’s self in ways to create a particular definition of the situation. This presentation may include verbal messages as well as gestures, clothing, style, hairstyle, posture, etc. (Goffman) Social Identity. It is the online identity. It is the self that is shown to other people.

This is the part of ourselves that we use to create an impression, to let other people know who we are and what they can expect from us. Social Networking Sites (SNS). Also termed as Online Social Network is a web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. CHAPTER II REVIEW OF LITERATURE This chapter presents the review of literature and studies as key concepts which are the variables themselves are being investigated. This includes the discussion of literature and studies undertaken by both foreign nd local researchers which have significant bearing on the variables included in the study. Social Networking Sites The researchers define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site (Baloncio, 2009). For many people, the internet is increasingly “a social ecology involving other people, values, norms and social contexts” (Petric, 2006).

Through networked computers, people communicate with their social contacts through multiple mechanisms, some synchronous (instant messaging and chat) and some asynchronous (e-mail). Furthermore, people often create self-presentations, such as personal home pages (Elbanbuena, 2009). What makes social network sites unique is not that they allow individuals to meet strangers, but rather that they enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks. This can result in connection between individuals that would not otherwise be made, but that is often not the goal, and these meetings are frequently between “latent ties” (Haythornthwaite, 2005) who share some offline connection.

On many of the large social network sites, participants are not necessarily “networking” or looking to meet new people; instead, they are primarily communicating with people who are already a part of their extended social network (Baloncio, 2009). When a computer network connects people or organizations, it is a social network. Just as a computer network is a set of machines connected by a set of cables, a social network is a set of people (or organizations or other social entities) connected by a set of social relationships, such as friendship, co-working or information exchange. More researches into how people use computers have concentrated on how individual users interface with their internet, how two persons interact online, or how small groups function online. Social networking seek to describe networks of elations as fully as possible, tease out the prominent patterns in such networks, trace the flow of information (and other resources) through them, and discover what effects these relations and networks have on people and organizations. They use a variety of techniques to discover a network’s densely-knit clusters and to look for similar role relations. When social networking studies two-person ties, they interpret their functioning in the light of the two persons’ relations with other network members. This is a quite different approach than the standard networking assumption that relations can be studied as totally separate units of analysis. “To discover how A, who is in touch with B and C, is affected by the relation between B and C . . . demands the use of the (social) network concept”. There are times when the social network itself is the focus of attention.

If we term network members characteristics and change, then each tie not only giving direct access to their characteristics but also indirect access to all those network members to whom they are connected. Indirect ties link in compound relations (e. g. , friend of a friend) that fit network members into larger social systems. The social network approach facilitates the study of how information flows through direct and indirect network ties, how people acquire resources, and how alliances operate. Boyd and Ellison’s (2007) overview of social networking sites research serves as a good point of departure to examine current theoretical perspectives on the subject and to consider the implications for teaching and learning.

Firstly, they outline the core concept of identity, which refers to the way in which users develop their online profiles and list of friends to carry out four important community processes: 1. ) Impression management is concerned with personal identity formation, in which users define their own identities through the information they provide in their profile, and the extent to which they make it public or private in the community and thereby send out identity signals to others. 2. ) Friendship management is linked to impression management in that users use publicly displayed profiles of others to choose who they would like to include as friends on their list, that is, they look at the identity markers of other users as a benchmark for establishing levels of social interaction.

Network structure relates to the roles that users play in the social community in which they participate. Some users will be fairly passive and have a restricted personal network. Others will be active posters of information, and build up intricate networks of friends. Others will play an even greater role in actively promoting and developing the SNS as a whole, by setting up groups and communities and posting publicly available information to encourage interaction. Bridging of online and offline social networks, which is concerned with the degree to which the SNS becomes an integral part of the users’ actual life while offline (Harrison & Thomas, 2009).

Although a good deal of research has studied and investigated group interaction online, a group is only one kind of social network, one that is tightly-bound and densely-knit. Not all relations fit neatly into tightly-bounded solidarities. Indeed, limiting descriptions to groups and hierarchies oversimplifies the complex social networks that computer networks support. If Novell had not trademarked it already, it would more properly speak of “netware” and not “groupware” to describe the software, hardware, and “peopleware” combination that supports computer-mediated communication. Relations/Strands Relations (sometimes called strands) are characterized by content, direction and strength. The content of a relation refers to the resource that is exchanged.

Networking exchange different kinds of information, such as communication about administrative, personal, work- related or social matters. With the rise of electronic commerce (e. g. , Web-based order-entry systems, electronic banking), information exchanged via internet may also correspond to exchanges of money, goods or services in the “real” world. A relation can be directed or undirected. For example, one person may give social support to a second person. There are two relations here: giving support and receiving support. Alternately, people may share an undirected friendship relationship, i. e. , they both maintain the relationship and there is no specific direction to it.

However, while they both share friendship, the relationship may be unbalanced: a person may claim a close friendship and the other a weaker friendship, or communication may be initiated more frequently by a person than the other. Thus, while the relationship is shared, its expression may be asymmetrical. Relations also differ in strength. Such strength can be operationalized in a number of ways. With respect to communication, pairs may communicate throughout the work day, once a day, weekly or yearly. They may exchange large or small amounts of social capital: information money, goods, or services and etc. They may supply important or trivial information. Such aspects of relationships measure different types of relational strength.

The types of relations important in networking include the following: the exchange of complex or difficult information; emotional support; uncertain or equivocal communication; and communication to generate ideas, create consensus, support work, foster sociable relations; or support virtual community (http://jcmc. indiana. edu/vol3/issue1/garton. html, 28 June 2010). Ties A tie connects a person by one or more relations. Pairs may maintain a tie based on one relation only, e. g. , as members of the same organization, or they may maintain a multiplex tie, based on many relations, such as sharing information, giving financial support and attending conferences together. Thus ties also vary in content, direction and strength. Ties are often referred to as weak or strong, although the definition of what is weak or strong may vary in particular contexts.

Ties that are weak are generally infrequently maintained, non-intimate connections, for example, between co-workers who share no joint tasks or friendship relations. Strong ties include combinations of intimacy, self-disclosure, provision of reciprocal services, frequent contact, and kinship, as between close friends or colleagues. Both strong and weak ties play roles in resource exchange networks. Pairs who maintain strong ties are more likely to share what resources they have. However, what they have to share can be limited by the resources entering the networks to which they belong. Weakly-tied persons, while less likely to share resources, provide access to more diverse types of resources because each person operates in different social networks and has access to different resources.

The strength of weak ties has been explored in research suggesting that an electronic tie combined with an organizational tie is sufficient to allow the flow of information between people who may never have met face-to-face. Connectivity among previously unacquainted people is a well established finding in netwoking. Examples of this form of connectivity are documented in studies of large international organizations as well as in dispersed occupational communities such as oceanographers, “invisible colleges” of academics in the same field, and members of the computer underground (http://jcmc. indiana. edu/vol3/issue1/garton. html, 28 June 2010). Multiplexity The more relations (or strands) in a tie, the more multiplex (or multistranded) is the tie. Social networking has found that multiplex ties are more intimate, voluntary, supportive and durable.

Yet some people have feared that email, the Internet, and other reduced-cues that are unable to sustain broadly-based, multiplex relations. These fears are extended by the boutique approach to online offerings which fosters a specialization of ties within any one of thousands of topic-oriented news groups. However, this tendency toward specialization is counter-balanced by the ease of forwarding online communication to multiple others. Through personal distribution lists Internet participants can sustain broad, multiplex, supportive relationships. As yet, there has been little research into the extent to which specialized, online, single relations grow into multiplex ties over time (http://jcmc. indiana. edu/vol3/issue1/garton. html, 28 June 2010). Composition

A study of the composition of a relation or a tie is derived from the social attributes of both participants: for example, is the tie between different or same sex, between a supervisor and an underling or between peers. Networking tends to underplay the social cues of participants by focusing on the content of messages rather than on the attributes of senders and receivers. By reducing the impact of social cues, networking supports a wider range of participants and participation. Hence, networking increase involvement of spatially and organizationally peripheral persons in social networks (http://jcmc. indiana. edu/vol3/issue1/garton. html, 28 June 2010).

While social network sites have implemented a wide variety of technical features, their backbone consists of visible profiles that display an articulated list of friends who are also user of the system. Profiles are unique pages where one can “type oneself into being” (Baloncio, 2009 in Sunden, 2003). After joining social networking sites, an individual is asked to fill out forms containing a series of questions. The profile is generated using the answers to these questions, which typically include descriptors such as age, location, interests, and an “about me” section. Most sites also encourage users to upload a profile photo. Some sites allow users to add modules (“Applications”) that enhance their profile (Baloncio, 2009).

According to Boyd (2006) after joining a social network site, users are prompted to identify others in the system with which they have a relationship. The label for these relationships differs depending on the site- popular terms which include “Friends,” “Contacts,” and “Fans. ” Most social network sites require bi-directional confirmation for friendship, but some do not. These one-directional ties are sometimes labeled as “Fans” of “Followers,” but many sites call these “Friends” as well. The term “Friends” can be misleading, because the connection does not necessarily mean friendship in the everyday vernacular sense, and the reasons people connect are varied (Baloncio, 2009). The public display of connections is a crucial component of social network sites.

The friend list contains links to each friend’s profile, enabling viewers to traverse the network graph by clicking through the friend lists. On most sites, the list of friends is visible to anyone who is permitted to view the profile, although there are exceptions. Most social network sites also provide a mechanism for user to leave messages on their friends’ profiles. This feature typically involves leaving “comments,” although sites employ various labels for this feature. In addition, social network sites often have a private messaging and comments are popular on most of the major social network sites, they are not universally available (Baloncio, 2009).

Social network sites are often designed to be widely accessible, many attract homogeneous populations initially, so it is not uncommon to find groups using sites to segregate themselves by nationality, age, educational level, or other factors that typically segment society, even if what was not the intention of the designer. Online social network tools may be of particular utility for individuals who otherwise have difficulties forming and maintaining both strong and weak ties. Some research has shown, for example, that the internet might help individuals with low psychological well-being due to few ties to friends and neighbors. Some forms of computer-mediated communication can lower barriers to interaction and encourage more self-disclosure; hence, these tools may enable connections and interactions that would not otherwise occur.

For this reason, the study explore whether the relationship between Facebook use and social capital is different for individuals with varying degrees of self-esteem and satisfaction with life (Baloncio, 2009 referencing Deiner, Suh, & Oishi, 1997; Pavot & Deiner, 1993). Online social network sites may play a role different from virtual communities. Online interactions do not necessarily remove people from their offline world but may indeed be used to support relationships and keep people in contact, even when life changes move them away from each other. Lampe (2007) added in helping student populations, this use of technology could support a variety of populations, including professional researchers, neighborhood and community members, employees of companies, or others who benefit from maintained ties (Baloncio, 2009).

The communication tools emphasized on social networking sites provide a variety of means for which adolescents can share their thoughts and feelings. Few adolescents consider the consequences of their actions online. They equate instant messages to private telephone conversations, in which phrases and statements disappear immediately after they have been said. Because this is not the reality, adolescents think they can fully embody their online identities without ramifications. Your average teen would never plaster the halls of her school with signs declaring whom she’s got a huge crush on, how badly she flunked last week’s algebra test, or what she really thinks about her uncle’s drinking problem.

Yet that’s exactly what kids do when they open up and post about their personal lives online (qtd. in Tedeschi) (http://lcowie. wordpress. com/2010/04/29/social-medias-influence-on-adolescent-identity/, 01 August 2010). Many respondents spoke of the sense of isolation inherent in this medium and the lack of face to face contact as a contributing factor to feelings of alienation and loneliness (Alexandria, 2008 mentioning Wade, 1999). Likewise, on Alexandria (2008) perspective teens are truly living in broadband world – turning to the Internet as a tool for gathering information, providing entertainment, and as a means of establishing their identity and connecting to others.

According to a study, Two-thirds of teens have their own personal Web page, 71 percent have reached out to others through online games, and 34 percent have created their own videos to share online (Elbanbuena, 2009). In their examination of LiveJournal “friendship,” Fono and Raynes-Goldie (2006) described users’ understandings regarding public displays of connections and how the friendship function can operate as a catalyst for social drama. In listing user motivations for friendship, Boyd (2006) points out that “Friends” on social network sites are not the same as “friends” in the everyday sense; instead, Friends provide context by offering users an imagined audience to guide behavioral norms. Other work in this area has examined the use of Friendster Testimonials as self-presentational devices.

Boyd & Heer (2006) explain the extent to which the effectiveness of one’s Friends (as indicated by Facebook’s “Wall” feature) impacts impression formation (Elbanbuena, 2009). Furthermore, Arledge (2008) stated that it is also possible to just read other people’s comments without participating in any discussions, thus asking permission to view this information or to conduct and create surveys is extremely difficult and unnecessary because the Internet is considered “public domain” at this time. This sense of “public domain” in reference to online social interaction is unique because “it is not possible to record, wiretap, or otherwise capture these interactions in the physical world . . . without specific prior arrangement,” but in the realm of computer conversations where “electronic transmissions . . . re generally stored by Internet service providers, archived by search engines, and documented in cookies and Web histories by default,” it is possible to access information without contacting the participants (Tufekci, 2008). In addition to being able to utilize this information for informational purposes, researchers can examine “ways we wish to be seen,” looking for how people are “engaging in identity expression, communication, and impression management”. As the research and discourse continues in fields such as sociology, mass communications, and cultural studies, the scope of mediums included in popular culture also increases. In addition to film, television, radio, art, usic, fashion, Hollywood, professional sports, advertising, and literature, online social networking is proving to be just as significant as the more established genres. The process online social networking involves individuals voluntarily posting information about themselves-personal thoughts, feelings, beliefs, activities-in a public arena with unlimited access for anyone with an Internet connection. The amount of personal information contained in a profile is completely dependent on the author’s judgment (Arledge, 2008). Based on Arledge (2008) analysis in order to participate in any aspect of an online social network, one must create a personal “profile,” that may include photos, music, quotations, and personal information.

Sharing profiles is how people interact online, and the creator of a profile chooses whether or not to restrict access to his or her profile. Once a “personal profile” is established, a person monitors access to his or her profile and either accepts another user as a “friend” or denies access. “Friends” then correspond and touch base through these profiles (Ellison, Steinfeld, and Lampe, 2007). Many of these online social networking sites are focused on a specific subject or interest, but both Facebook and MySpace are very general and less specialized. Facebook are open to both youth and adults; however, in Facebook, Boyd (2006) says that “Over 50 million accounts have been created and the majority of participants are what would be labeled youth-ages 14-24” (Arledge, 2008).

Within the realm of social media are the growingly popular social networks. A social networking service focuses on building and reflecting social networks and relationships among people who share interests, activities or other similarities. A social networking service essentially poses a virtual representation of a user, called a profile. This profile often features the user’s basic information, such as age, location and sex, as well information regarding one’s hobbies, such as favorite movies, musical artists and books. Users are encouraged to connect to one another using a variety of communication tools. These include public profile messages, private e-mail messages, instant messages and gifts.

Social networking services rely on user participation and user-generated content. Both features not only provide the basis for which these sites may exist, but they enhance the usability and resulting popularity of the service. The most popular social networking services include MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter (http://lcowie. wordpress. com/2010/04/29/social-medias-influence-on-adolescent-identity/, 01 August 2010). Mark Deuze argues that online social experiences are powerful tools for individual participants. He believes our reactions to this medium may be categorized in three different responses, one of which is that we are “active agents in the process of meaning-making (we become participants)” (Deuze, 2006).

This ability to participate, interact, and respond to media represented in popular culture is one significant difference that makes online social networking a positive experience for adolescents experimenting with identity formation (Arledge, 2008). Being able to participate and exchange information and ideas online instead of in person is also a changing phenomenon in our society. Boyd (2006) says that “teens have increasingly less access to public space. Classic 1950s hang out locations like the roller rink and burger joints are disappearing while malls and 7/11s are banning teens unaccompanied by parents,” thus, Facebook is one of the places, even though virtual, where teens can “hang out” without being controlled or censored by adults.

Part of experimenting with identity is the social component, and online social networks are an adaptation of this shift in culture and public space. The concept of “social capital,” introduced by Coleman and defined by Bourdieu and Wacquant as “the sum of all resources, actual or virtual, that accrue to an individual or a group by virtue of possessing a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition”. If teens are lacking the physical space in which to “hang out” and acquire necessary “social capital,” the Internet and online social networks surely provide that avenue, which ultimately works toward shaping identities.

The complexities of this shift are still being researched, but any insight into these differences is helpful in understanding the impact of Internet usage on adolescent identity formation (Arledge, 2008). Meden (2009) includes the study of Sonia Livingstone and she presented in an article Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation: “Teenagers’ use of social networking sites for intimacy, privacy and self-expression”. Livingstone’s conclusions on teenagers’ practices of social networking can be summed up as first, teenagers are playing and experimenting with their identities within social networks and for them “self-actualization increasingly includes a careful negotiation between the opportunities (for dentity, intimacy, sociability) and risks (regarding privacy, misunderstanding and abuse) afforded by internet-mediated communication” and thus the strategies of representing the self vary considerably. Second, younger teenagers relished the opportunities to play and display, continuously recreating a highly-decorated, stylistically-elaborate identity, wherein older teenagers expressed a notion of identity lived through authentic relationships with others (Livingston suggests that this shift may have implications for teenagers’ experience of online opportunity and risks). Third, teenagers perceive online risks critically, which is amongst others apparent in the differences between using identity as display or identity as connection. Also evident and significant is the fact of limited Internet literacy.

Fourth, It should not be assumed that profiles are simply read as information about the individual (in some cases the “position in the peer network was more significant than the personal information provided, rendering the profile a place-marker more than a self portrait”) and lastly, teenagers use social networking sites as part only of their social relations, and in so doing they are choosing communication channels according to what they are communicating and to whom. New means of ‘constructing social reality’ is being set up, with it our own identity construction of the individual. But it is not only how computers are mediating communication between people, as it is more and more about the communication between the computer and us. It is this phenomenon that changes the ways in which we communicate between ourselves, changes our informal practices, our culture. This is even more obvious if we look at the phenomena of web based social networks.

The fact that we are interacting with non-human agents is nothing new, but in many cases we are not even communicating with people on social networks, but with the application, which presents us the user and his activity (Meden, 2009). The ways in which offline and online networks bled into one another, the assumed online to offline directionality may not apply to today’s SNSs that are structured both to articulate existing connections and enable the creation of new ones. However, because there is little empirical research that addresses whether members use SNSs to maintain existing ties or to form new ones, the social capital implications of these services are unknown (http://jcmc. indiana. edu/vol12/issue4/ellison. html 01 September 2010).

Inadvertently, users have formulated new behaviors for managing context online. As data is primarily collapsed through one’s name or email address, people create multiple accounts and associate particular accounts with particular contexts. The most obvious example of this is the separation between work and personal email addresses. By managing multiple accounts, people are able to regain some control and privacy. In doing so, they are also formulating a new paradigm for conceptualizing context localization. Maintaining multiple personas online satisfies many goals for the digital individual. In the early days of MUDs and MOOs, people regularly explored their identity by playing with different online personas.

Because people chose to fragment their social identity, digital researchers such as Boyd (2001) referencing the study of Sherry Turkle (1995) and Sandy Stone (1998) saw this play as indicative of a postmodern, fragmented self. Yet, the play in which people engaged simply gave them the ability to reflect on, experiment with, and process their own identity. Fragmented social presentations online provides even greater flexibility for the multi -faceted individual, as it allows them to walk through common spaces presenting different aspects of themselves rather than being required to maintain one persona per space, as is necessary offline says Reid. While role-playing is a fascinating, it is only one of the motivations behind maintaining multiple accounts.

Seeking privacy or segregation of lives, people maintain multiple accounts that represent different facets of their internal identity. In the realm of Usenet, this allows the user to use one account to discuss topics related to programming and one to talk about recreational interests (Boyd, 2001). For Boyd (2001), as an alternative to anonymity, this allows people to build reputations and friendships while only revealing particular aspects of their identity. So long as people maintain a strict boundary between accounts (i. e. not providing one’s name or other identifying information), this provides a barrier when archives aggregate across or allow access to data through individual identification. By maintaining multiple accounts, users associate context locally.

In other words, rather than adjusting one’s presentation according to the situation or current population, one can maintain an account that represents a specific facet and present oneself through that. In doing so, people take their internal facets and create external representations for them. Thus, faces function directly from externalized facets, or accounts, rather than through the individual themselves. When reading for situational and interpersonal context information, people assess which facet should be associated with that interaction and use it exclusively. As one moves from one ephemeral context to another, one simply switches accounts or facets.

Thus, when one logs into one’s work email, one knows that one is presenting the work face uniformly through this account. In doing so, people have started a new paradigm of social interaction online. Although this may initially appear peculiar, multiple email addresses/handles fill a desired void of the digital realm – the ability to manage the given context. They have minimized the collapsed contexts by maintaining the contexts locally; thus, what is aggregated is done so across a particular facet instead of a particular individual. Of course, people maintain a varying number of accounts and they differ as to how strictly they segregate their different facets.

People’s consciousness of this behavior is often dependent on how much they feel it is necessary to maintain segregated facets. While such control mechanisms work as a substitute for the failure of digital context, they are only temporary bandages for a larger problem. It will be collapsed in the near future, accidentally or maliciously by those who want to reveal people online, through new technological advancements, or systematically by initiatives such as Microsoft’s Passport. Managing separate facets is neither convenient nor intuitive; thus, only those with the greatest need put forth the effort to segregate their facets Boyd (2001) manifested.

Online social network sites may play a role different from that described in early literature on virtual communities. Online interactions do not necessarily remove people from their offline world but may indeed be used to support relationships and keep people in contact, even when life changes move them away from each other. In addition to helping student populations, this use of technology could support a variety of populations, including professional researchers, neighborhood and community members, employees of companies, or others who benefit from maintained ties (http://jcmc. indiana. edu/vol12/issue4/ellison. html 01 September 2010). Social Networking Activities Blogging.

The word, blog, comes from the term “weblog” to mean “websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information” that is changed or improved on regular basis which features something personal, something political which can radiate from a micro scale of topics, blogs are common because there is a content area where articles are written and where new topics are placed on the top with old ones below; bloggers form communities where people find a chance to make exchanges with one another while learning and sharing ideas, making friends or doing business with anyone around the world (Rowse, 2005). Content Sharing. The activity allows a sharing of all content to provide “information, photographs, videos where there are countless sites that speed up the exchanges which could be shared with everyone around the world and examples of the sites are YOU-tube, Zoopy, Zoomr, Fluckiest, Photobucket and Flickr. Discussion Board. It is an “asynchronous communication tool allowing someone to post a statement or ask a question online and the individuals of the same discussion board could read what is posted and respond to their own comments at time.

On board, a person may ask a question while three other persons may post an answer to the question; posts are called “threads” of conversation. Forum. A discussion space on a certain website is like a message board or a discussion group, sometimes called a bulletin board or a web forum which allows members to post or respond posts by other members of the forum. In order to join the Internet forum, a member is required to register, to follow online rules as netiquette. Afterwards, he or she uses a username and password. Threads are the sep0arete conversations in a forum and members can edit their own post, begin new topics, send their own topics or edit their profile (Cyprus, 2009). Instant Messaging.

On the other hand, instant messaging or IM involves the sending of messages on actual time to another Internet-user; it is like chatting but it is limited to people one prefers to speak to; it is faster and simpler than the email; users can also respond immediately to make comments or ask questions; it is one of the easiest ways to communicate with members of one’s family and friends while saving expenses over long distance calls (Holetzky, 2009) Mailing List. This contains a listing of individuals who subscribe to a “periodic mailing distribution on a particular topic” to include e-mail and postal address. It allows for a vast expanse of distribution about information to many users. Organizations may also avail of its services to send publications to members and costumers.

You-tube. Feldman (2007) argued that you-tube is an online public communication with which members are registered in that they are free to upload videos to be made available for public viewing. On the You-tube, everyone is free to read and watch anything; it was designed and released in 2005 by PayPal; and was later purchased by Google; on the You-tube, everyone may be entertained or may engaged in business. Role- Playing Game. Role-playing game (Kim, 2009) is an online game wherein the players pretend they were the fictional characters in the game. Participants would decide on the actions of the characters according to how they are described.

Their success or failure would depend on a system of norms; however, within the systems of rules the character would be free to decide on the actions thus, they are accountable to their own wins or losses. Adolescents in Social Networking Today’s teenagers are being socialized into a society complicated by shifts in the public and private. New social technologies have altered the underlying architectures of social interaction and information distribution. They are embracing this change, albeit often with the clumsy candor of an elephant in a china shop. Meanwhile, most adults are panicking. They do not understand the shifts that are taking place and, regardless, they don’t like what they’re seeing http://kt. flexiblelearning. net. au/tkt2007/edition-13/social-network-sites-public-private-or-what/ 01 September 2010).

In communities around the world, teenagers are joining social network sites (SNSes) like MySpace, Facebook and Bebo. Once logged into these systems, participants are asked to create a profile to represent themselves digitally. Using text, images, video, audio, links, quizzes, and surveys, teens generate a profile that expresses how they see themselves. These profiles are seen together into a large web through ‘Friends’ lists. Participants can mark other users as ‘Friends’. If that other person agrees with the relationship assertion, a photo of each is displayed on the profile of the other. Through careful selection, participants develop a ‘Friends’ list http://kt. flexiblelearning. net. u/tkt2007/edition-13/social-network-sites-public-private-or-what/ 01 September 2010). By our measures, all of these forms of participatory culture are blossoming in their own right. Even in the cases where we see little or no growth in the incidence of certain a

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