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Creating Social Action through Facebook

Date

2008-05-12T20:10:46Z

Authors

Vandersluis, Kelly S.

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Abstract

Facebook, as a popular representative of the social network site genre, has changed the way that social network site users manage their on- and offline social lives and communication, and creates a new rhetorical situation in which users create and perform their identity roles to an unknown audience. This new rhetorical situation requires connectivity, integration, and an understanding of both self as a performer of identity and as a member of a greater audience of other performers. Facebook creates Facebook-specific social action. This social action can be seen in how users manage their social information, communicate, and gather and share information. This thesis is framed by Lloyd F. Bitzer’s theory on elements of rhetorical situation (exigence, constraints, audience, and author) and is inspired by Carolyn Miller and Dawn Shepherd’s genre study of blogs, “Blogging as Social Action: A Genre Analysis of the Weblog.” Bitzer’s theory and Miller and Shepherd’s method assist in demonstrating that social network sites, and Facebook specifically, are functioning rhetorically and are a fitting rhetorical response to American social exigences.

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Keywords

Facebook, Social-network, Social-action, Internet

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