My name is Angela Cirucci, and I am a PhD student at Temple University. I am currently in the process of getting my dissertation proposal together. I should be Dr. Cirucci by August 2014! :) My degree will officially be in Media and Communication, but I also rely heavily on sociology literature, particularly identity theory.
My research is centered on the implications of social networking sites for formations and perceptions of individual identity. I am interested in how the architectures of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest aid in the construction and performance of identity. My Master's Thesis, First Person Paparazzi, compared social media to video games to highlight similar themes such as the illusion of choice in identity creation and the drive to reach hero/celebrity status. Through completing a systematic analysis of journal articles dealing with these topics in social media and video games, I found that although social media and video game scholars study similar themes, how they study them differs. Therefore, I purposed a body of research that studies the implications of social media for identity creation, and not just how identity is constructed within any site.
My dissertation stems from some of these ideas. I am exploring what "anonymity" means in today's culture, especially under Facebook's new vision of funneling all social activity through the site—how are our definitions of agency and identity being altered due to Facebook's identity templates and prompts? First, I complete a structural analysis of the site, showing how each constitutive part is the antithesis of anonymity. I will then use these ideas as a guide in conducting interviews and focus groups with emerging adult users and nonusers.
I am very interested in social networking site design and how to develop sites that promote more natural identity performances. I have some experience with html . . . my website is proof of that! . . . but I would love to learn more, especially pertaining to social networking sites and apps.
I suppose that’s enough for now. I look forward to the great conversations and collaborations that HASTAC will bring!