Department

Communication Studies

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair

Faith Mullen

Primary Subject Area

Information Science; Psychology, Social; Sociology, General

Keywords

Facebook, Fisher, Life Storytelling, Narrative Coherence, Narrative Paradigm, Social Networking

Disciplines

Communication | Communication Technology and New Media | Family, Life Course, and Society | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Social Psychology and Interaction

Abstract

Facebook's transition to the Timeline profile design brought with it a new focus: Life storytelling. Walther Fisher posited the narrative paradigm as a way of understanding all communication in the form of stories. The paradigmatic component of coherence assesses the structural integrity of a narrative, the characters, and the encompassing themes found within. This study applies narrative coherence to the Timeline profile design to assess the coherence of life narratives told through individuals' Facebook Timelines. The researcher observed the Timeline profiles of 15 participants on the basis of three research questions. The researcher's observation yielded data suggesting that life narratives told through the Facebook Timeline maintain structural integrity through an ascertainable beginning, middle, and soft ending, possess characterological coherence through interactions of the self and interactions with others, and retain thematic coherence through six overarching content narrative categories. Limitations of the present study and recommendations for future research are also provided.