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‘You’re given just a page to show the real you’: To what extent does gender influence perceptions of self-expression on Facebook? A discourse analysis

Rye, Lauren (2012) ‘You’re given just a page to show the real you’: To what extent does gender influence perceptions of self-expression on Facebook? A discourse analysis. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The current study aims to test the extent to which gender is made relevant within the discussion of self-expression online. By using Subrahmanyam’s (2008) co-construction model, perceptions of individuals were also analysed for recognition of offline/online fusion. 3 male and 3 female participants took part in semi-structured interviews, where they were expected to discuss online self-expression (in relation to themselves personally, those around them, and society at large). Data was then transcribed and then explored using discourse analysis with reference to Fairclough (2001). Participants expressed the motivation to manipulate self-expression, in order to produce an online identity which enhances the offline self. Gender was not found to substantially affect this process, as Facebook provides all members with an equal opportunity to express online. When describing characteristics normatively associated with a particular gender stereotype, individuals often asserted that this behaviour could be related to male or female self-expression; thus creating a lack of gender reinforcement within conversation.

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