Category Archives: Logistics

Building the Syllabus

On January 19 at 5pm, our TA Natasha downloaded the data from the Journal Article Evaluation survey. There were 103 complete entries, each with two journal articles summarized and recommended (definitely, maybe, or not) with explanations. The first thing I did was remove all identifying information to ensure the final article selections were not influenced by the people who endorsed them (or didn’t).

Then the sorting began! There were 196 article recommendations to sift through, including some that were evaluated by one person, many by two people and one article that ended up being evaluated six times! Turns out there were 110 unique articles, but choosing them was complicated by some disagreement about which course theme the article did or did not exemplify, and whether the article would be a suitable read for our class.

Most students were very thoughtful in their recommendations. I’d like to code these entries for evidence of critical thinking… because there seemed to be a lot of that going on! People dug into the methods, considered the complexity of the article, considered its relationship to our shared overall mission of developing a Psychology of Self in Social Media, and so on and so on. (So that this awesomeness doesn’t sit idle in a file on my computer, on Tuesday Jan 19, our class agreed to work on a way to share/publish these reviews online for others’ benefit. More to come.)

After skimming through the whole list, I identified how many people had rated the articles and whether they endorsed them or not (2 points for a yes, 1 point for a maybe, 0 points for a no), which allowed me to create an index of consensus. For example, if two people rated an article and both thought it should go on the syllabus, that article got a score of 4. It was a rough guide that showed a few standout articles that became easy choices, and also cut out the articles that were squarely not recommended.

From there, I considered articles identified as relating to each course theme, and I read through the recommendations to select a shortlist of 21 articles. I considered some other things like particular journals, and whether the article’s message overlapped too much with another article more strongly endorsed. Sometimes articles that didn’t have complete consensus have made it through — in part to spur discussion, and sometimes because the arguments in favour were stronger than the arguments against. One thing I noticed was that the recommendations were uneven across topics, so we might see that some topics are explored with more readings than others are. For example, Development was identified as a theme of interest, but as a class we didn’t find too many articles to review that made it on the list, and those that were reviewed weren’t highly endorsed for the most part.

Here’s the shortlist of article titles, by theme. Overall, it took me about 4 hours to get to here from the raw data.


  • Having Responsive Facebook Friends Affects the Satisfaction of Psychological Needs More Than Having Many Facebook Friends
  • Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks
  • Romantic Relationship Stages and Social Networking Sites: Uncertainty Reduction Strategies and Perceived Relational Norms on Facebook
  • Relevant Hermida #TellEveryone readings: Chapter 1 The News Now; Chapter 2 Why We Share

Self-Concept and Self-Presentation

  • Can You Guess Who I Am? Real, Ideal, and False Self-Presentation on Facebook Among Emerging Adults
  • Identity Shift in Computer-Mediated Environments
  • Extended Self in a Digital World
  • Relevant Hermida #TellEveryone readings: Chapter 3 OMG! I have to tell you (see also Chapter 7 When consumers strike back)


  • Online self-presentation on Facebook and self development during the college transition.

Self-Esteem and Social Comparison

  • Social Comparisons on Social Media: The Impact of Facebook on Young Women’s Body Image Concerns and Mood
  • Why Following Friends Can Hurt You: An Exploratory Investigation of the Effects of Envy on Social Networking Sites among College-Age Users
  • When Social Networking Is Not Working: Individuals With Low Self-Esteem Recognize but Do Not Reap the Benefits of Self-Disclosure on Facebook
  • “Exercise to be fit, not skinny”: The effect of fitspiration imagery on women’s body image
  • Social Comparison, Social Media, Self-esteem
  • Relevant Hermida #TellEveryone readings: Chapter 4 The Daily We


  • College students’ academic motivation, media engagement and fear of missing out
  • Social Media Users Have Different Experiences, Motivations, and Quality of Life
  • Instagram: Motives for its use and relationship to narcissism and contextual age
  • Self-determination theory, social media and charitable causes: An in-depth analysis of autonomous motivation
  • Relevant Hermida #TellEveryone reading: Chapter 5 Voices that rise above the noise (see also Chapter 6 A nervous system for the planet; Chapter 9 The political power of a shared story)


  • Manifestations of Personality in Online Social Networks: Self-Reported Facebook-Related Behaviors and Observable Profile Information
  • Facebook Profiles Reflect Actual Personality, Not Self-Idealization
  • Automatic Personality Assessment Through Social Media Language
  • Who’s Posting Facebook Faux Pas? A cross-cultural Examination of Personality Differences
  • Trolls just want to have fun
  • Relevant Hermida #TellEveryone readings: Chapter 8 Truths, Lies, and Rumours

End-of-Term Integration

  • Relevant Hermida #TellEveryone readings: Chapter 10 The Way Ahead
  • And because it was so highly endorsed as being thoughtfully done and just a fun read, even though it’s not 100% totally on theme, I might just have to keep this for the end of term, or possibly as a “reading break” option on Reading Break: Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches Internet cats, why, and to what effect?



Happy New Year and welcome to Psyc 325: The Psychology of Self in Social Media!

This website functions as a living course syllabus, and will be continually updated throughout the term. Before class on Tuesday, start on the Essentials page and work your way through the site to learn about the course. Post a comment below if you have questions or concerns (or email me if they’re private). We’ll soon have other ways to communicate too.

Class begins on Tuesday January 5 at 11am. We will spend the full class period in dialogue. Please come prepared. Consult the Schedule for some guiding thoughts and readings. If you are unable to make it to this first class (or any class), you are responsible for catching up as soon as possible.

You’ll notice that the Schedule does not include a complete reading list. That’s because we’ll be building the bulk of it after our first assignment (due Jan 19), once you have provided your feedback on which articles you think are worthwhile for the class to read. Have some in mind already? Add them to this GoogleDoc list.

Although I hope you’re up for this exploration of The Psychology of Self in Social Media, this course design (like any course design) will not appeal to everyone. If you’re certain you’ll be dropping this course, please do so soon. There are some people hoping to join us.