Analyzing the Digital Family Structure

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We use Facebook to connect with different people in our lives – close friends, colleagues, and family members. With an increasing presence of smart technology and social media sites, it’s no surprise that older generations are increasing their online presence. Over the years, I have noticed that more parents have started to join the Facebook community. I believe that this is primarily because their children are away at college or off starting their careers. For my research project I chose to analyze communication patterns between American Facebook users and their family members. It was through these observations that I compared their communication with their family members to communication with their friends. I wanted to observe this particular subject because I feel that interactions are highly modified when talking to family.

Overall, I found my research similar to the opinions of my participants. The activity over the two-week time frame shows that for the most part they are actively engaged with their family members. The personal interviews allowed me to include their personal opinions of their familial relationships in comparison to the data. I believe that engaging in family communication online is beneficial to an extent. It allows users to keep updated at a distance; however, it can be invasive at times. This project allowed me to experience firsthand the development of family structures in an online setting and the impact they have on relationships.

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