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In Pursuit of Recognition in a Digitally Divided City: Conceptualizing voice, visibility and presence in the age of social media

Cruz-Porter, Annie (2018) In Pursuit of Recognition in a Digitally Divided City: Conceptualizing voice, visibility and presence in the age of social media. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

With social media’s increasing importance in modern society, this thesis investigates its role in the digital economy and how it shapes the everyday lives of Sheffield’s residents. The significance of social media ties, transactional relationships and concepts about how new media functions in the public sphere are interwoven throughout the literature review. Digital interactivity is conceived as a process, which in turn, influences the perception of status, reputation and recognition. Qualitative interviews were conducted with participants from each of the following three cohorts: computer learners, knowledge workers and global elites. An interactivity spectrum was developed after participant interviews emphasised how social media usage related to employment prospects. This spectrum evaluates the cohort’s online interactivities based on the following categories: technology and data linkages; networking and engagement; representation and identity; information awareness and sociability. This conceptual framework draws on usage patterns and investigates the social ties forged through digital connections. Interactivity serves to amplify voice and visibility; thus, online presence becomes an active form of social capital incorporating both visibility and voice. These cases suggest how digital interactivity and social capital accumulation may be theorized using voice, visibility and presence on the social media sites of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The three groups (learners, knowledge workers and elites) strive separately to achieve both local and national forms of recognition within the public sphere and are clearly marked out by their differences in social media interactivity. This research is important as it delineates a social capital creation pathway that begins with digital engagement and ends with social capital accumulation. The connection between engagement and capital creation also compels a rethink of the digital divide in light of new participatory media practices.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Urban Studies and Planning (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.752598
Depositing User: Mrs Annie Cruz-Porter
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2018 09:54
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:56
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21181

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