Research Interests

I am interested in how social media users manage impressions and adjust their self-presentations in relation to their audience. I previously explored this phenomenon in detail through a three month analysis of user profiles across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Findings showed that the technological affordances of each site enabled certain identity functions over others. Specifically, Instagram facilitated individuality, Facebook facilitated interpersonal connections, and Pinterest facilitated collectivity.

My past projects have covered the following topics: Self presentation on online dating websites, international students’ use of Instagram as a tool to adjust to a new country, the role of photo-sharing sites and their relationship to tourism, collective gender portrayals on Pinterest and workplace ideologies on Linkedin.com.

I tend to take on several projects at a time, each with a different take on my research area.  My most recent study explored how romantic partners utilized Instagram to manage a desired impression, co-construct a relational identity and negotiate tensions related to privacy and authenticity. I have also been involved in some work that compares how body image is communicated on Instagram by two opposing communities (pro-anorexics and members of the fat acceptance movement).  I am currently working on a study that explores the self-presentation strategies of mobile dating application users (on apps such as Tinder, Hinge and Jswipe).  This project focuses on interviewing users about the opportunities and constraints for appearing desirable to a potential romantic partner.

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