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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 14136
Studying self-presentation in online social network sites Facebook & Instagram
Author: Isosomppi, Laura
Title: Studying self-presentation in online social network sites Facebook & Instagram
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; media; media; sosiaalinen media; social media; viestintä; communication; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; identiteetti; identity
Pages: 72
Key terms: self-presentation; online social network; social media; Facebook; Instagram; online communication; consumer culture; identity projects; grounded theory

The objective of this study is to understand and explain the phenomenon of self-presentation in social media context by exploring how the self is projected through social media site profiles and reflected in the usage behavior on the sites.


This research is qualitative and interpretive in nature. As a base of studying, comprehending and explaining human behavior a constructivist approach is adopted. Constructivism highlights the importance of interpretation and observation in understanding social world. Also holistic understanding of informants' perspectives and actions in their personal contexts is stressed. The key assumption behind studying self-presentation is that individual's conception of self is constructed in social interaction and shaped by communication with others offline as well as in online context. The data was collected conducting open-ended interviews with eight interviewees discussing social network site use, behaviour and habits. Data collection and analysis process was guided by Grounded Theory methodology.

Key findings:

The key findings of this thesis study are 1) posting and sharing behavior in social media can be characterized as self-expressive behavior, where presenting self is a conscious activity and impression management occurs, 2) the online social network (friends & followers), representing the audience on online social network site, has a significant role in setting the behavioral norms regarding what is considered socially acceptable and valued self-expressive behavior 3) social network site context is dynamic, which means that the social networks are ever evolving, therefore also behavioral norms and rules in different social network sites change in time, as seen in how the use of Facebook has changed over the years, and how newer social media outlets such as Instagram and Twitter have gained foothold from Facebook in the social media field and nowadays facilitate more specific modes of self-expressive behavior.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.