A Phenomenological study of social media: boredom and interest on Facebook, Reddit, and 4chan.

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dc.contributor.author Mitchell, Liam
dc.date.accessioned 2012-07-04T20:00:40Z
dc.date.available 2012-07-04T20:00:40Z
dc.date.copyright 2012 en_US
dc.date.issued 2012-07-04
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/4045
dc.description.abstract Optimists used to suggest that the anonymity of the internet allows people to interact without prejudices about race, sex, or age. Although some websites still foster anonymous communication, their popularity pales in comparison with sites like Facebook that foreground identifying characteristics. These social network sites claim to enrich their users’ lives by cultivating connections, but they sometimes have the opposite effect. Given the widespread and growing use of social media, my research poses the following questions: Does a particular form of (dis)engagement with the world flow from the reduction of the person to a profile? Does this (dis)engagement extend beyond social media, possibly into the way that we understand the world as such? What can we conclude about the broader theoretical framework in which an analysis of social media might be couched? I answer these questions through Martin Heidegger’s work, which provides the theoretical orientation for the dissertation as a whole. Noting that history informs the way that he understands ontology (Chapter One), I argue that the social changes that are accompanying the spread of the internet suggest modifications to his characterizations of boredom (Chapter Two) and technology (Chapter Three). I then turn to three emblematic social media sites – Facebook, which renders its users connected and identifiable (Chapter Four); Reddit, which gathers its users into a pseudonymous community of common interest (Chapter Five); and 4chan, which demands that its users engage in an anonymous fashion (Chapter Six) – and analyze them using the framework developed above while drawing from them to alter that framework further. I claim that although the patterns of use apparent on these sites differ, they all express different aspects of the mood that holds sway over the internet. Social media is both the cause of, and solution to, boredom, and it is shaping a generalized mood that is coming to seem ontological in its purchase. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Facebook en_US
dc.subject Reddit en_US
dc.subject 4chan en_US
dc.subject Martin Heidegger en_US
dc.subject boredom en_US
dc.subject interest en_US
dc.subject phenomenology en_US
dc.subject social media en_US
dc.subject distraction en_US
dc.title A Phenomenological study of social media: boredom and interest on Facebook, Reddit, and 4chan. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Kroker, Arthur
dc.degree.department Dept. of Political Science en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.rights.temp Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US

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