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Semi-anonymous question and answer platforms from a teenager’s point of view: Beyond Internet abuse on Sayat.me: the bigger picture
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This master thesis studies teenage users that are common to the semi-anonymous question and answer platform Sayat.me. Sayat.me offers users with a profile the possibility to receive questions and feedback from friends and peers. What is so special about the platform is that the commenters’ identity remains undisclosed, which means that all messages are by default anonymous. Previous research has demonstrated the frequent occurrence of cyberbullying or online abuse on these platforms. Adults are puzzled as to why semi-anonymous question and answer platforms are so popular amongst teenagers. Departing from a theoretical framework with key concepts from digital and social media theories, the analysis tries to create a better understanding of this phenomenon from Belgian teenagers’ point of view. The results of the interviews show that, first of all, Sayat.me is not considered as an independent social media site, but rather as an extension of it. On social media, ‘sociality’ and ‘connection’ is what matters, but on Sayat.me sociality mainly plays an indirect role where users receive compliments from and are comforted by friends. Compliments, approval and admiration is what teenagers keeps coming back to the platform. Although teenagers often encounter online abuse, they do not feel cyberbullied, even so they consider this abuse as ‘natural’ on the platform. In addition, it appears that the way you are handling Sayat.me says a lot about you as a person, which is why teens use Sayat.me to present themselves or to portray a certain image. However, teenagers only imagine their friends or peers as the audience and do not consider their Sayat.me for their parents’ eyes. The situation is that parents are confused and do not understand their children’s online behaviour, whilst teenagers are annoyed with their parents’ incomprehension and overprotectiveness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 73
Keywords [en]
Semi-anonymous question and answer platform, Sayat.me, social media studies, anonymity, online abuse
National Category
Cultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-35792OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-35792DiVA, id: diva2:1230768
Subject / course
Media and Communication Studies
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-07-04 Created: 2018-07-04 Last updated: 2018-07-04Bibliographically approved

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