To Whom It May Concern

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  • Title: To Whom It May Concern: Facebook as Peer Support
  • Author(s): Carrie Davenport-Kellogg, Heidi Stevenson
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Technologies in Learning
  • Keywords: Peer Support, Facebook, Social Media, Counternarrative
  • Volume: 26
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2327-0144 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-2686 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-0144/CGP/v26i01/1-17
  • Citation: Davenport-Kellogg, Carrie , and Heidi Stevenson. 2019. "To Whom It May Concern: Facebook as Peer Support." The International Journal of Technologies in Learning 26 (1): 1-17. doi:10.18848/2327-0144/CGP/v26i01/1-17.
  • Extent: 17 pages

Abstract

This phenomenological case study chronicles the experience of one high school student creating and managing a peer-facilitated and governed support group over the course of her senior year with the pseudonym To Whom It May Concern (TWIMC). The Social Networking Site (SNS) Facebook was used as a major component of this peer support system. The literature review includes data on the use of the internet and SNS by youth, provides insights into SNS peer support groups and explores issues with student self-disclosure on SNS. The theoretical lens of phenomenology is utilized and data is analyzed in a narrative form. These data are comprised of four one-on-one interviews with the creator of the support system discussing her experiences throughout its facilitation with the following foci: demographics and background of the participant; creation of the peer support group; the impact of the peer support group on the creator and her high school; and deeper insights into the process of creating and managing the peer support system, including keeping the facilitator’s identity anonymous until TWIMC’s completion at graduation. The experience of the TWIMC creator and the issues of replication are discussed, as well as the ways in which digital spaces are frequently neglected in schools, the role school staff played in assisting TWIMC and directions for future research regarding SNS and peer support.