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Persistently Present: College Students, Social-Mobile Technologies, And The Transformation Of Social Life

Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Janice M. Irvine

Second Advisor

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey

Third Advisor

Rosío Alvarez

Subject Categories

Digital Communications and Networking | Higher Education


Persistently Present argues that we need to more fully reassess our thinking about the relationship(s) between social connectedness and technologically mediated forms of communication (particularly social-mobile technologies). Noting that contemporary social life is marked by connections that are more flexible, accessible, negotiable, and persistent because communication opportunities are nearly constant, I argue that socialmobile technologies are shifting and reconfiguring the ways that students build and maintain their social relationships. Within this environment social-mobile technologies are effectively serving as tools of social extensibility, allowing individuals to expand, enhance, and extend their social presence. As a result, these technologies are altering the when, where, and how (contexts) of contemporary connectedness and interactions. The concept of social extensibility is investigated across four important and interdependent areas that emerged in my data and the related literature: connectivity, virtual spaces, nonspaces, and expressiveness.


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