Document Type



The digital era and the rise of new technology within everyday experiences has led young adults to seek out social media sites as a means of socializing, identity building, self-expression, and seeking validation from peers and friends. The previous work of scholars expresses how social media sites have become a predominate form of communication amongst young adults, and are a social hub for establishing communities that foster particular ideals and online behavior of ‘digital natives’ (those born right before and after the general introduction of digital technologies). This research project contextualizes young adults’ use and behaviors on social media by focusing on the self-reported behaviors of college students. This research examines the ways in which college students use social media sites, and the role that they play in their social lives. Data was collected through 156 online surveys. While the findings did not fully support the prediction that social media sites are as central to the social lives of college students as previously suggested, it was found that college students construct their online identities around their offline self-concepts and that they find forms of validation on social media sites as seen with receiving multiple ‘Likes’ on their posts. This research contributes to the literature of sociological discourse of young adults and social media sites by shedding light on the relevance of social media in the lives of college students.



Thesis Comittee

Jodi Cohen (Thesis Director)

Walter F. Carroll

Meghan Murphy

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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Sociology Commons