Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

12-2011

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Major Advisor

Mary Frances Casper, Ph.D.

Abstract

Using critical discourse analysis, fantasy themes were extracted from user profiles and postings to examine American values found in Facebook culture.

Core values found on Facebook worked to create not only socially recognizable identities enacted and communicated through the participants, but also a particular culture to which participants both reflected and contributed in Facebook. Themes and values extracted from findings indicate that Facebook users should be casual, technologically-aware, social, respectful and fair to others, “good little copers,” financially savvy while at the same time valuing higher education, a healthy lifestyle, family and travel.

Because Facebook is an interestingly fluid cultural location, with its users moving in and out of it and the location with which they physically subside, findings also revealed that certain values were reified placing participants as American Facebook users: being social, mixing with a wide array of friends (or neighbors), working hard and sacrificing for one’s family to succeed.

In the 1950s, Americans left the small city for the expansive and homogenous suburban life. In the 2000s, Facebook transforms the suburb/city metaphor and is, in essence, a third space that is neither city nor suburb, but instead a new MetroBurb, allowing the user to easily weave between city and suburb without the long commute or need to physically leave one’s home.

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