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Editing the project of the self: Sustained Facebook use and growing up online

Lincoln, S and Robards, B Editing the project of the self: Sustained Facebook use and growing up online. Journal of Youth Studies. ISSN 1469-9680 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Now in operation for over a decade, Facebook comes to serve as a digital record of life for young people who have been using the site through key periods of transition. With significant parts of their social and cultural lives played out on the site, users are able to turn to these profiles – these texts of transition often documenting significant relationships, work lives, education, leisure, and loss – to reflect on how their use of Facebook has come to constitute a life narrative. Like reading old journals or diaries, the act of ‘scrolling back’ through a Facebook profile can be a nostalgic and challenging experience whereby users are confronted with their younger selves. In this paper, we report on findings from qualitative research into sustained use of Facebook by young people in their twenties in Australia and the UK. Here we focus on the ‘editing’ or re-ordering of narratives that our participants engage in while they scroll back through their years (5+) of disclosures – and the disclosures of others – that make up their Facebook Timelines. We present our analysis through three different arenas (employment, family life, and romantic relationships) subject to what we argue here is a reflexive re-ordering of life narratives. We argue that Facebook profiles represent visual manifestations of Giddens’ (1991) reflexive project of the self, that serve not only to communicate a sense of self to others, but that also act as texts of personal reflection and of growing up, subject to ongoing revision.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1608 Sociology, 1303 Specialist Studies In Education, 1701 Psychology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Humanities and Social Science
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2016 10:38
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2016 10:38
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4092

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