White, Joanne Isobel (Masters in Mass Communication Research, School of Journalism and Mass Communication)The Latent Sphere of the Network SocietyThesis directed by Associate Professor Nabil Echchaibi
The intermingling of the online and offline spheres has seen a marked blurring and today IRLembraces all forms of identity. Women and mothers in particular, have long struggled withidentity, and the rise in popularity of social media has provided them with a channel of connection in ways never before encountered. The power of women in social media is unmet byany other group. Companies seeking commercial benefit from this force of spending decisionmakers are attempting to infiltrate the mom blogger environment.This thesis considers a mom blogger event run by Nestle in September 2009, and the negativereactions of the social media community, both towards the company and the bloggers whoattended. Issues of social capital, identity work and the latent sphere of community presentwithin the online realm are explored through a triangulated research methodology whichprovides an insightful picture of online communities and the organization and politicization of the space.