Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Identity Management Across Social Networking Sites"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2012 - DURI
Research area(s):
Social media, communication, human-centered computing
Project Description:
For this project, we are trying to understand how people manage the way they present themselves and the way they communicate with various groups in their lives when they use 3 or more social networking sites. Imagine a person is active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. How does this person choose to present herself across these networks? Does she create a similar identity across the three sites? Does that identity vary by site? Does she connect with the same kind of people in all the sites, or does she separate the groups - i.e Facebook for family and friends, LinkedIn for professional connections, Twitter for...? More than that, what does she actually post on these social networks in order to sustain the image she wishes to create on each site? This project is supported by a grant awarded Dr. Vorvoreanu & Dr. Spafford.
Expected Student Contributions:
We have already conducted interviews with about 30 people about their behaviors across social networking sites. The intern will help us analyze this interview data and write a research paper. The intern can also help us with the next step of the research, which is to actually analyze (using content analysis) the types of posts people publish on various social media sites.
Related Website(s):
My personal blog is at
Desired Qualifications:
Human subjects certification will be needed. Interest in qualitative research and social media, good attitude and enthusiasm preferred!
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Vorvoreanu, Mihaela
computer graphics technology

Student Supervisor

Mihaela Vorvoreanu
Assistant Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Gene Spafford
Computer Science