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Department 1



The widespread use of internet enabled devices among contemporary US adults has given rise to a series of questions about issues of identity, privacy and group behaviors. The increasing use of algorithmic systems in social media and the attendant privacy concerns among users may also contribute to increased levels of strategic management of identity among users. In order to contribute to this discussion, this project examines perceptions and practices of privacy and self-representation in digital spaces among college age adults 18-24. This project utilizes semi-structured interview data collected with college students in the Eastern United States and focuses on both behavioral and attitudinal patterns. I specifically consider the impact of strategic interventions of corporate media platforms to collect, distribute, manage and utilize individual level data on participants' information consumption, individual identity representation and group affiliation. Preliminary data suggests that participants engage partial and strategic representations of self across diverse media platforms. Patterns of self-representation are shaped by a wide variety of factors including in-group online community norms, perceptions of visibility and privacy, algorithmic distributions of information and individual perceptions of technology. Furthermore, online identity, while partial and strategically created, has the potential to impact self-identity and group affiliation in a diverse set of offline and online contexts.


Presentation given at the Friday Forum on September. 6, 2019 The Friday Forum is a series of lectures given by members of the Gettysburg College community on their personal scholarly research, creative activities, or professional or curricular development activities.