Abstract Title

Deindividuation in Social Media

Authors' Class Standing

Rebecca Rohmeyer, Junior

Lead Presenter's Name

Rebecca Rohmeyer

Faculty Mentor Name

Amy Bradshaw-Hoppock

Abstract

Deindiviuation in social media is increasing as more social media applications, such as Yik Yak, allow you to post anonymously. The deindividuation theory suggests that people who are anonymous in a group setting tend to act more aggressively than if their identity was known. It is important to understand why people do such actions while they are anonymous versus if their identity were known. For this study, Yik Yak posts from college students who attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University were collected to analyze. Seven participants were then given an Excel spreadsheet to sort and categorize each Yik Yak post into Content Categories and Intent Categories. Each participant had to then choose from a subset of categories within the Content and Intent Categories. The subset of Content Categories includes: aggression, charity, academic dishonesty, crime, escapism, political activities, sexual behavior, social disruption, interpersonal spying and eaves dropping, travel, and miscellaneous. The subset of Intent Categories includes: prosocial (helps others), antisocial (hurts others), nonnormative (violating social norms without hurting or helping others), and neutral (meeting none of the other three categories). The results suggested that most of the people using Yik Yak were most likely not experiencing deindividuation. We concluded this because more than half of the posts were categorized as "Miscellaneous". If the Yik Yak users were experiencing deindividuation, most of the posts should have fallen into the "Aggression" or another violent category.

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Deindividuation in Social Media

Deindiviuation in social media is increasing as more social media applications, such as Yik Yak, allow you to post anonymously. The deindividuation theory suggests that people who are anonymous in a group setting tend to act more aggressively than if their identity was known. It is important to understand why people do such actions while they are anonymous versus if their identity were known. For this study, Yik Yak posts from college students who attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University were collected to analyze. Seven participants were then given an Excel spreadsheet to sort and categorize each Yik Yak post into Content Categories and Intent Categories. Each participant had to then choose from a subset of categories within the Content and Intent Categories. The subset of Content Categories includes: aggression, charity, academic dishonesty, crime, escapism, political activities, sexual behavior, social disruption, interpersonal spying and eaves dropping, travel, and miscellaneous. The subset of Intent Categories includes: prosocial (helps others), antisocial (hurts others), nonnormative (violating social norms without hurting or helping others), and neutral (meeting none of the other three categories). The results suggested that most of the people using Yik Yak were most likely not experiencing deindividuation. We concluded this because more than half of the posts were categorized as "Miscellaneous". If the Yik Yak users were experiencing deindividuation, most of the posts should have fallen into the "Aggression" or another violent category.