University College London

Project Description

What impact have web-based social-networking sites such as �Facebook� had on users� sense of their past and their relationship to this past?

Project Abstract

This dissertation will focus on the use of online social-network sites with reference to nostalgia, the creation of identity and their reflection of modern relationships to archiving. Previous studies of social-networking sites provide insight into the use of such sites and how different people interact with them. The unique focus of this dissertation will be through an �ego-centred� ethnographical study of �Facebook� � a recent phenomenon in the world of online communities familiar to university students but now stretching beyond. An ego-centric approach (�relations reported by a focal individual�� ) is particularly useful when the population is large or the boundaries of the population are hard to define. The study will examine the use of social-network sites as a means of contacting old friends and acquaintances and recreating past �groups�. The idea of reminiscing and meeting old friends is not new, but through the increased use of the internet, the way we relate to our past as a past (reference to Lowenthal) and how we react to and resist change in our lives will potentially alter greatly in the future.
To this end a purposive sample of �Facebook� users will be interviewed and observed to examine the influence of nostalgia, identity creation and desire to archive in creating and expanding the use of this medium.

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