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Swat Freshman Facebook Ethno

Swat Freshman Facebook Ethno

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Published by Samme Sheikh

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Categories:Types, Research, Genealogy
Published by: Samme Sheikh on Nov 01, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Samme SheikhIntroduction to Contemporary Social Thought Professor Muñoz11/20/11Social Function of Facebook for Swarthmore Freshmen
Part I
When considering the nature of the undergraduate experience, oneimmediately realizes that college life is not simply defined by the education a collegestudent seeks to obtain. Social experiences help to define a life at college. Popularculture tells us this, as it often idealizes the notion of college with depictions of parties and youthful abandon. But such romanticized retellings of theundergraduate experience omit the subtler and cosmetically less interesting aspectsof the college social experience. An undergraduate student engages in daily,repetitive interactions, mostly with fellow students but also with professors,librarians, registrar, dean, people who serve the students their food, tutors, campussecurity, and any other group of people who help comprise that particular college.Over time, these interactions help shape ones social identity in relation to thecollege culture and locate where one fits into the social fabric of their particulareducational institution.At Swarthmore, as with many colleges, the social experience is partially
shaped by factors unique to the school itself. The school’s histor
y and tradition play
a role in the construction of Swarthmore’s social environment. Swarthmore’s strong
Quaker roots help contribute to a campus culture that’s widely known for itstolerance and activism. Rituals such as the “Yule Ball” and the “Pterodactyl Hunt”help ingrain in campus culture what is often called the “quirky” aspect of Swarthmore’s social environment.
 Though the individual Swarthmore student takes part in or is exposed tothese general aspects of campus culture, a much greater part of a st 
udent’s social
experience at college is determined by the previously mentioned regular andrepetitive interactions that occur out of mundane necessity or chance. Interactionswith ones roommate, hallmates, and classmates allow for the expression andcommunication of ones social identity. After a while, the social identity of individualstudents solidifies and the regular interactions of individual students that werebrought on by random stimuli (a queue at Sharples, similar academic interests, etc.)allows for a piecing together of the social fabric as students grow comfortableaccustomed with their lifestyles and the impressions they display.This process starts and is conducted with the most intensity during thebeginning of college because it is those students who are new on campus that havethe most to learn. Thus, it is the freshmen on campus for whom this process is most significant. During the first few months of college, the interactions freshman havewith each other and other members of the community allows the students toperceive others while simultaneously being perceived, helping to create a socialstructure out of the formlessness that existed amongst the freshman on the first dayof school.
When considering how freshman develop and assert their social identityduring the first half of the school year, one takes for granted the fact that theseinstances of self-assertion in the presence of others exists on a physical plane. Forstudents to have an idea of who another individual student is, the individual student 
must cultivate this image with his daily activities and practices. Or at least, that’s
how it has been until recent years.Facebook, the universally accessible and interactive identity registry of theworld, allows individuals a different mechanism for self-presentation and socialinteraction so as to facilitate the assertion of self in any given social environment. Acommunity would of course have to be able to adequately accommodate thisalternative mechanism and Swarthmore
with its Wi-Fi outfitted campus and itslaptop-addicted populace
has allowed Facebook to supplement and perhapsundermine traditional avenues of self-presentation. This ethnography speaks to thishypothesis by detailing the online behavior and practices of a sample group of freshman students at Swarthmore.
Part II
I have and maintain a Facebook profile. This means that I entered into acontract with the company of Facebook. In exchange for the right to display theadvertisements of other companies on my computer screen, I was granted with anonline template to fill with my personal information, photos, and preferences so that I may have a profile. Facebook places my profile in a network of profiles of peoplewith whom by mutual agreement, we have agreed to view, interact, and

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