Utilizing Facebook to articulate self and sustain community: experiences of undergraduate students on a midwestern campus

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership


Advisor: Darla J. Twale


Facebook is an online social networking site that connects people through intentionally constructed virtual social relationships. It has been an integral component in campus life throughout the world since 2006, extending outside of higher education networks and into mainstream society (Moral & Sandhu, 2009). Facebook has changed the landscape of human social, political and romantic interactions. This research explores the impact this online platform has on college students, by studying the behaviors, experiences, and perspectives of undergraduate students at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. The results indicate that students use Facebook for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: fostering and maintaining community; nurturing relationships; making public statements and protecting privacy; establishing a personal identity; building social capital; establishing cultural competency; coping; and critiquing their peers and campus. The data is situated within literature on student development, and recommendations for faculty and campus personnel are offered.


Facebook (Electronic resource) Case studies, Undergraduates Social networks Case studies, College students Social networks Case studies, Social media Social aspects Case studies, College students Effect of technological innovations on, Higher education; social media; Facebook; college student; residential; netography; qualitative; identity; critique; capital; relationships

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2012, author