Author: Robertson, Amy
Given the ubiquity of social media today, it is important to consider how their use might affect our communication and relationships. This study explores the question of whether social media, given their self-focus, lead us to define community in more individualistic terms. A literature review provides a starting point for addressing this question, touching on themes such as the ubiquity of individuation within modernity, traditional and modern communities, changes in North American communities over the last several decades, characteristics of social media, and cases for and against technological determinism. Building on this review, interviews with 10 subjects help explore the question in a more focused way. Findings suggest a positive correlation between substantial social media use and a largely individualistic understanding of community. I then discuss the implications of this relationship, as well as the roles of education and public policy in facilitating understanding of the potential of social media.
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Thesis advisor: Beale, Alison
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