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Content Analysis of Facebook Pages: Decoding Expressions Given Off

By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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We conducted a content analysis of 63 Facebook accounts in 2007 to find out how, to whom, and what identity claims were made by college students on the institutionally anchored non-anonymous social networking site. We found that the identities produced in this social environment differ from those constructed in anonymous online settings. Facebook users tend to claim their identities implicitly rather than explicitly; they ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ and stress group identities over personal ones. In this case study, I unpack the methodology of content analysis and describe in detail the major steps we took in applying this method to the study of Facebook pages. I also reflect and comment on the methodological issues we encountered in our study and offer some advice for those who are interested in using this method.

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