Engaged or just "friends": using social media for membership engagement or identity management through group affiliations

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Crawford, Emel
Public Relations and Advertising
thesis / dissertation description
The purpose of this study investigation was to ascertain the engagement levels of emerging-aged adults that affiliate and hold membership in groups both on and offline. In-person and online participation levels were examined, and motives for online activity on groups' social media pages were investigated to understand how profile identity formation played a role in emerging-aged adults' associations. Information acquired through this study assists in further examining Facebook and Twitter's influence on social capital production within groups. Group members demonstrated a preference for email and in-person communication over social networking sites, higher levels of offline engagement versus online, and an authenticity to join groups without the need to enhance their online self-image. The findings show that social media bears little weight on how group members organize to accomplish goals, seek information or form collective action in real-world terms.