Recently my Master’s thesis was approved by New York University’s John W. Draper’s Program of Humanities and Social Thought. My thesis was based on past academic research and the study of over 100 internet-active human subjects from over thirty countries. For those who are interested in reading my thesis, or specific chapters, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
How is the addition of online social network systems (SNSs) transforming the ways we think, perceive and behave? In 1959, noted sociologist, Erving Goffman, coined the term the “dramaturigical perspective,” which argues that human actions and social interactions are dependent upon time, place, and audience (1959). Does this hold true when the players move from a physical environment into a virtual, meditated environment? How are the politics of our social worlds transformed when the “actors” and the “audience” are not simultaneously acting in real-time?
This thesis is not as concerned with the technology of online social network sites like Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Orkut, Hi5, etc., but how we allow these new social tools to recreate our sense of self, our creation of self, and our perception of one another.
Examined through four main parts:
1. Trends of past media theory scholarship.
2. The “Architecture” of SNSs, specifically the erosion of fixed social boundaries.
3. The ways users create their online identities and negotiate invisible audiences and the “Authenticity” of SNSs in users’ lives.
4. Lastly, whether SNSs are affecting the ways users archive personal artifacts and the possible benefits and pitfalls of housing personal artifacts in an online, digital environment.