Curating the self on social media and perceptions of authenticity : an exploratory study
This thesis examines the perception of authenticity of the self and others in a social media context. The field of communication, as well as other relevant fields such as Sociology and Advertising, holds Goffman’s work as a seminal theoretical framework that continues to guide modern scholarly inquiry. This work uses his theoretical framework to help explain self-presentation as it unfolds in computer-mediated communication (CMC) contexts, specifically in the case of Social Networking Sites (SNS). Using an online survey, this study recruited participants to complete measures that tap into the dependent and independent variables. Specifically, this study examines and explores authenticity and its relationships to social trust, social comparison, and overall self-presentation on social media. Perceptions of authenticity online appear to play an increasingly growing role in social media, and examining variables that appear related, such as social trust and social comparison, can help us understand how these perceptions are functional and relevant in today’s online world.