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Title Life, Learning, and Literacy on the Social Network: Digital Participatory Culture
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department 0311
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Abstract This dissertation uses qualitative case studies of seven graduate and undergraduate students in which I examine their situated literacy and identity practices within social network sites. I argue that activity on social network sites is ubiquitous, purposeful, and integral to students’ literate lives. My research examines identity and literacy practices on social network sites by considering individuals’ site use in context. Chapter One situates my research within past studies of digital literacy practices, self-sponsored writing, and identity, and I consider how individuals’ networked literate practices are embedded in and influenced by social context, institutional and technological structures, and the history of these structures. While much work on social network sites in writing studies focuses on rhetorical analyses of profile pages or a consideration of these sites for use in the writing classroom, my research views activity on these sites within specific writers’ larger online and offline literacy practices. Chapter Two introduces my ethnographic case study methodology that combined methods of data collection from different sources, including face-to-face interviews, online written texts, time use diaries and video screen capture. This project does not draw strict boundaries between online and offline activities or between activity on different social network sites, but instead investigates the relationship between them. Instead of studying online interactions based on their textual record, I include data from other sources to gain a better understanding of this online activity as distributed across sites and integrated within daily literacy practices. Chapter Three focuses on the ways that my research participants represent themselves for different groups of people and theorizes different ways to view identity on social network sites. Here my research is grounded in Dorothy Holland, William Lachicotte, Debra Skinner and Carole Cain’s (1998) conceptions of situated and transactional identities and figured worlds. The structure of many social network sites flattens one’s multiple contact groups into one group of “friends” or “followers,” where an individual sends the same update to multiple friend groups. This chapter considers the ways that case study participants conceive of audience on these sites and negotiate between different “figured worlds” in online spaces. One research participant, for example, manages two different Twitter accounts, one as a music reviewer for a popular music blog, another for his academic persona as a graduate student, teacher, and rhetorician. Another undergraduate research participant uses the same Twitter and Facebook accounts to send updates in both English and Korean to the same list of contacts. These participants’ experiences demonstrate the purposeful ways in which writers consider audience and representation on social network sites. Chapter Four moves from users’ interactions with others on social network sites to interactions with the sites themselves. This…
Subjects/Keywords digital literacies; social network sites; social networking sites; identity; new media; composition
Contributors Hawisher, Gail E. (advisor); Hawisher, Gail E. (Committee Chair); Prior, Paul A. (committee member); Schaffner, Spencer W. (committee member); Nakamura, Lisa M. (committee member)
Language en
Rights Copyright 2012 Amber Buck
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:2142/31927
Repository uiuc
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2020-03-09
Grantor University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Issued Date 2012-06-27 21:19:46

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