Journal of Social Sciences

THEY SHOULDN’T POST THAT! STUDENT PERCEPTION OF INAPPROPRIATE POSTS ON FACEBOOK REGARDING ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PEER SOCIALIZATION

Loreen Wolfer

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2014.77.85

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 10, Issue 2

Pages 77-85

Abstract

Many students believe that drinking alcohol is part of the collegiate experience and showing that one consumes alcohol is an important part of establishing that one fits into this atmosphere. Facebook is one means in which college students present the appearance of social conformity in order to gain peer approval; yet, in accordance with Privacy Calculus Theory, students also need to weigh the potential cons of non-peer disapproval for drinking disclosures. However, for the process of Privacy Calculus theory to work with regards to peer acceptance, students need to obtain feedback from their peers in order to accurately assess the pros and cons of different levels of disclosure. Seven separate focus groups involving a total of 46 students at a small, private college in Pennsylvania were conducted to explore whether college students perceive limitations in appropriateness for Facebook drinking posts and, subsequently if they do anything to peers to express disapproval if this line is crossed. Findings suggest that college students consider Facebook posts about underage drunken behavior and about drunken vomiting inappropriate because non-peer Facebook friends, such as family, may see the posts; and, additionally, in the case of vomiting, because sharing such behavior is deemed unnecessary and excessive. However, findings also suggest that students ignore these inappropriate posts without offering any sanctioning comments to their peers and in many instances actually find these posts “entertaining” even though these students form negative opinions of the discloser. This questions how well Facebook works towards helping late adolescents understand the approved behaviors of their cohort and, in accordance with Privacy Calculus Theory, how accurately peers can evaluate the pros and cons of disclosure.

Copyright

© 2014 Loreen Wolfer. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.