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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Stephanie T. Tong

Abstract

Digital connectivity and social media use have become increasingly commonplace as internet-mediated communication and mobile phone technology dominate our daily communication repertoire. Informed by a multidisciplinary theoretical framework of the cybernetic Big Five theory (CB5T; DeYoung, 2015), Communication Theory of Identity (Hecht, 1993), an affordances framework (DeVito, Birnholtz, & Hancock, 2017), and respectability politics (Higginbotham, 1993), this two-phase sequential explanatory mixed methods (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011) dissertation explores some of the implications of social media use for North America’s (the United States and Canada) Muslims, and how Muslim social media users engage with and communicate through internet-mediated technologies to create, conduct, articulate, and perform their identities in everyday life amidst rising anti-Muslim hostility and Islamophobia.

Taken together, Study 1 (quantitative survey methodology, n = 435) and Study 2 (qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews, n = 29) underline the significance of sociodemographic factors, personality traits, and cultural identity (i.e., ethnoracial and religious) in influencing social media use for identity work, in addition to revealing the unique sociotechnical communication phenomenon of “Muslim social media”—a distinctly Muslim way of adopting and engaging social media platforms and SNSs in everyday communication, altogether highlighting the pivotal role and intricate ways that social media platforms and internet-mediated communication offer for users of underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds.

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