Identity motives : influences of multiple motives on cognitive and behavioural dimensions of Facebook identity construction

Szeto, SS 2021, Identity motives : influences of multiple motives on cognitive and behavioural dimensions of Facebook identity construction , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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According to Boyd and Ellison’s (2008) definition of social media, Profiles and social connections are two major features that define these online platforms. On Facebook, Profile allows users to build a personal profile that consists of user-supplied content. Considering the feature of social connection, Facebook News Feed is an interface on which users can see other users’ activities and then interact with them (Oeldorf-Hirsch & Sundar, 2015). Previous research on Facebook identity construction has generally focused on the Facebook Profiles (Manzi et al., 2018; R. E. Wilson et al., 2012), yet overlooked the notion that social interactions on Facebook News Feed could also be a process of identity construction. Furthermore, a model that illustrates the motivational, cognitive, and behavioural dimensions of identity construction on Facebook has not been established. This thesis aimed to fill the research gaps by investigating how the motivational influences of identity construction affected the cognitive and behavioural dimensions of identity processes on both Facebook Profiles and the Facebook News Feed. Drawing on Vignoles’s (2011) motivated identity construction theory, six identity motives: self-esteem, efficacy, continuity, distinctiveness, meaning, and belonging, were examined in the present research project. Study 1 was a cross-sectional quantitative study designed to investigate the extent to which Facebook users perceived their Facebook Profiles could satisfy the six identity motives. A proposed conceptual model, Motivational Facebook Identity Structure, was tested, and the results suggested that Facebook users were driven by the motives of distinctiveness and meaning to construct a fluid identity on Facebook Profiles, instead of a continuing identity. Both Study 2 and Study 3 were qualitative investigation, exploring how identity motive might influence identity construction on Facebook News Feed, on which Facebook users can read and leave comment to news posts (Müller et al., 2016; Oeldorf-Hirsch & Sundar, 2015). Study 2 incorporated the six identity motives into Giles and Shaw’s (2009) news framing analysis for exploring how news media appealed to identity motives in news framing. The findings of Study 2 informed Study 3 about the appealed identity motives. Study 3 then incorporated the six identity motives into the analytical framework of deductive confirmatory content analysis for examining how Facebook users satisfied their identity motives through commenting to news posts as a behavioural response to identity construction. The findings of Study 3 revealed that Facebook users generally picked up the messages in the news narrative and responded in ways to satisfy the corresponding identity motives which were appealed to in the news. The findings of Study 2 and Study 3 were explained from a cultural perspective and synthesised to provide implications for changing a demanding learning culture and to the extent building an inclusive society. Taken together, this thesis has demonstrated that the six identity motives could have impact on the cognitive and behavioural dimensions of Facebook identity construction, whereby has made important theoretical and methodological contributions to the literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Coen, S (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Depositing User: So Suet Szeto
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2021 14:43
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2021 02:31

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