Profile work for authenticity : Self-presentation in social network services

Lecturer : 
Event type: 
Doctoral dissertation
Doctoral dissertation
Suvi Uski
Patrick Williams
Niklas Ravaja
Event time: 
2015-12-04 12:00 to 14:00
Auditorio 116, Unioninkatu 35

M.Soc.Sc Suvi Uski defends her doctoral thesis "Profile work for authenticity - Self-presentation in social network services" on Friday the 4th of December at 12. The doctoral defence takes place at auditorium 116, Unioninkatu 35. Welcome!

The dissertation explores the experience of maintaining a social network service (SNS) user profile. This is topical, with 1.49 billion profiles on Facebook alone and the numbers only growing. The social dynamics of self-presentation have changed dramatically in SNS contexts. The dissertation, forming an attempt to understand the phenomenon via both qualitative and quantitative research methods, shows how the process becomes very complex for an individual. 
Three key changes in social dynamics are presented. The first involves the role dynamic: the role presented in an SNS is now a meta-role, touching several social circles. A second dynamic, temporality, reveals that all actions one takes with an SNS profile are managed so as to maintain consistency. A final core change is found in the communication realm, where the mediated nature of the interaction means that social cues are different and asynchronous. In light of these changes, self-presentation is directed toward a prolonged identity performance , which is a non-traditional phenomenon in ordinary people s lives and social psychology. Prolonged identity performance with these changed social dynamics is manifested in several challenges facing self and identity. For instance, overlapping identities, identity development, coherence and consistency, and the  realness  of the self seem threatened. 
Drawing from the work of Goffman (1959), Giddens (1991), Gergen (1991), and Mead (1934), a concept is developed to illustrate the phenomenon of strategic self-presentation for prolonged identity performance through an SNS user profile. This concept, profile work,illustrates the essence of maintaining an SNS user profile. The dissertation situates profile work within the field of social psychology and in SNS research and research into self and identity. 
The dissertation elaborates on profile work in relation to the notion of authenticity. As the analysis reveals, profile work has a central role in maintaining authenticity of prolonged identity performance across offline and SNS contexts. An SNS profile offers at its base the possibility of constructing a socially-defined profile self since it enables an efficient conduct for social validation and negotiation of identity claims. The profile self is composed and maintained in relation to the social realm in which one operates, not relative to the SNS context. 
For the future, this research into profile work opens new avenues for SNS research, personal and social psychology, and self and identity research. The message of this dissertation is clear: The social powers in SNSs are changing the conception of identity in a way that is reflected in the sociocultural zeitgeist and in the day-to-day lives of ordinary people.

Last updated on 7 Dec 2015 by Maria Lindqvist - Page created on 7 Dec 2015 by Maria Lindqvist