The Secret Digital Lives Of Today’s Rising Freshmen

This American Life recently posted a podcast called “Status Update” that delved into the online behavior of three teenage girls who were entering high school.  The girls spoke at length about Instagram and the complex rules that govern how they use it, how they maintain their social connections, and the “rules” of the “game” when interacting online.  Although my research is not about adolescents, what the girls revealed was in very close alignment with the behaviors I found among the college students in my study.  In particular, traditionally aged college students, upon… Read More

You Already Have A Permanent Digital Tattoo… And It’s Growing…

I came across this excellent Ted Talk by Juan Enriquez the other day.  Titled, You Online Life, As Permanent As A Tattoo, this talk explores the idea that all of the digital data collected on you, and to which you contribute yourself through social media, is imprinting you with a permanent “digital tattoo.” Traditional tattoos tell stories about individuals.  They are often highly personal and unique.  As companies, sites and apps continuously collect information on us (such as our buying habits, our likes, our preferences, and our history), they are imprinting each of… Read More

My PhD Dissertation on College Students and Social Media Reduced To 96 Quotes

Don’t want to spend the time reading through 300 pages of my dissertation work on college students, social media, identity, and selfhood?  No problem.  I pulled out 96 “quotable quotes” from the text.  Consider it the “Reader’s Digest of Dissertations.”  Wondering why 96 and not… 100…?  I just went through the whole thing until I was done. 🙂

My Dissertation On College Students and Social Media In One 195-Code Word Cloud

Qualitative research requires that one code text (or images, or video, etc.) for themes.  Coding is a process whereby you find snippets of text, highlight and/or excerpt it, and tag it with a word or phrase.  There are a number of different code types, such as close-text, in vivo, etc.  Some can be categories and some can be individual discrete thoughts.  In any event, it is through this coding process that themes begin to emerge.  These themes are what become the basis of your analysis or the theory you construct. I used… Read More

Is YikYak Just A “Bag O’ Glass?” Should It Be Accountable?

Given that I speak on social media and college students, it’s inevitable that the topic of YikYak on campus comes up.  YikYak is an anonymous geosocial app that allows individuals to post and view posts within defined geographic areas.  This geo-functionality is one of the reasons it has become so popular on college campuses and at schools.  Given that residential campuses often have defined populations in defined geographic areas, it is incredibly easy to post to others in the community and see what others are saying around you.