Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Program

Sociology

Date of Award

5-2011

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Paul Kamolnick

Committee Members

Leslie A. McCallister, Joseph O. Baker

Abstract

This thesis applies methodological and micro-sociological insights derived from the pioneering social psychologist Georg Simmel (1858-1918) to the contemporary social media platform, Facebook. In opposition to previously-reported one-sided, polarized analyses (i.e. either/or, pessimistic or optimistic), this study suggests a more nuanced judgment: interaction viewed as social exchange reveals that individuality is often promoted though can occasionally be hindered; while most exchanges are ill-suited for sustaining interpersonal value, they ironically facilitate enhanced trust; and finally, the unique structure of site-based exchange generally facilitates rather than undercuts constructive conflict.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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