Identity (re)construction in an online environment : a qualitative inquiry of older adult Facebook users
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Facebook offers users a mode in which to (re)construct their identity. Recent studies examining identity and Facebook explore how impression management is a major factor when participating in the site. However, a research gap exists regarding the perspectives and experiences of older adult users and how they construct their identity on Facebook. This study extends the current knowledge base on identity in online environments. Qualitative face-to-face interviews with 16 individuals (8 male, 8 female) between the ages of 48-67 followed by a detailed thematic analysis indicate that identity is not fixed; but rather, is multiple and ever-changing. Findings reveal the performative nature of identity on Facebook through the identification of seven identities: expressive, hesitant/cautious, censored, vain, controlled, confident, and validated. Results give voice to older adults, an age group largely ignored when exploring the use of social media.
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