The Influence of Social Media Use on Male College Students’ Gender Identity and Gendered Performance

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The Influence of Social Media Use on Male College Students’ Gender Identity and Gendered Performance

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2017-05

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To better understand the influence of social media use on male college students’ gender identity and male gendered performance, this research examined existing research on digital identity and social networking sites, male gender identity development, college student development theory, and the effects of living arrangements on college students. Using constructivist grounded theory, this study was guided by the following research question: How does the influence of social media use on male college students’ gender identity and gendered performance affect first-year students and graduating seniors? A total of 31 students at a private, liberal arts institution in the Midwestern United States participated in the study. Methods included individual interviews, synchronous ethnographic digital observations, and focus groups. The theory that emerged from this study was developed through analysis of students’ experiences and is a representation of the intersection and convergence of male gender identity development and digital identity development. Participants described changes that occur between the first year of college and the final year of college, both in the way that they define masculinity and the way that they describe their use social media. A shift occurs throughout time spent in college, evolving from pre-college expectations and assumptions to the intentional alignment of in-person and online values. Formative experiences and opportunities in college – including both in-classroom and out-of-classroom – provided the impetus for change that allowed the participants to better understand their identities and contexts and begin to understand how they engage with both the physical and digital world as men.

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University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation. 2017. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Darwin Hendel, Michael Stebleton. 1 computer file (PDF); 253 pages.

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Potts, Lawrence. (2017). The Influence of Social Media Use on Male College Students’ Gender Identity and Gendered Performance. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/188909.

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