- Infinite content, infinitely content
- Self-expression in contemporary digital culture
- Award date
- 14 March 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Social media have taken a prominent position in today’s society. We are able to connect, interact, and express ourselves in ways previously unheard of. In popular press, plenty of critics have raised concerns on the shift to the culture of social media consumption we currently find ourselves in. These concerns, however, stand in contrast with the stream of personal content we see being shared across these platforms. This hints at a transformation in expressive behavior, and raises some interesting questions: which self-expressions do we consider appropriate, who engages in different types of self-expression, and what are the consequences of self-expression for ourselves? This dissertation aimed to address these questions. The findings add up to two key contributions to our understanding of people’s self-expressive behavior on social media. First, we find that a positivity bias exists in what people share on social media, yet that not everyone equally embellishes their self-expressions. Specifically, the extent to which individuals are perceptive of their social surroundings influences patterns of self-expressive behaviors on social media. Second, we find that sharing one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences on social media can have beneficial consequences. However, the potential consequences of self-expression depend on the selected platform and the private or public social context they generate. Through these nuances this dissertation sheds a positive light on self-expressive behavior on social media; the digital traces that social media users leave behind within the seemingly infinite stream of self-related content, whether positive or negative, ultimately just makes them feel better.
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 14 March 2020)
Chapter two: Norms of online expressions of emotion (Embargo up to and including 14 March 2020)
Chapter three: Predictors of emotional expressivity on social media (Embargo up to and including 14 March 2020)
Chapter four: Emotional outcomes of sharing emotions online (Embargo up to and including 14 March 2020)
Chapter five: Identity expressions and self-concept change online (Embargo up to and including 14 March 2020)
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