Growing up on Facebook

Our new book – Growing up on Facebook – is out now! This book is the culmination of a seven year project with friend and colleague Sian Lincoln, and I’m super proud of how it turned out.

The blurb:

Growing up in the era of social media isn’t easy. With Facebook now having existed for more than a decade and a half, young people who have grown up using social media can look back and see earlier versions of themselves staring back: nostalgic moments with friends from school, reminders of painful breakups, birthdays and graduations, posts that allude to drama with family, experiences of travel, and blurry drunken photos. How do we make sense of our own personal histories inscribed on and through social media? What are the implications for future careers, for public trust in social media companies, and for our own memories?

Growing up on Facebook examines the role of Facebook, and other social media platforms that have emerged around Facebook, in mediating experiences of ‘growing up’ for young people. Based on interviews with the first generation of young people to grow up with social media, the book covers education and employment, love and relationships, family life, and leisure (drinking, travel, and music). It touches on processes of impression management, privacy, context collapse, and control, and raises critical questions about the standards we hold social media platforms to, as they become the guardians of our personal histories.

The book will appeal to both academic and general audiences alike. Students and scholars in media and communications, the sociology of youth, and beyond, will find strong connections to the literature and acknowledgement of the methodological detail of the study the book is based on. The themes and issues covered in the book are also of broader interest, and will appeal to people who have themselves grown up in the era of social media, to parents, educators, anyone interested in how we look back at social media as a personal memory archive.

We were also delighted to have some idols and intellectual powerhouses in the study of youth and digital media endorse the book:

“Growing up on Facebook is an insightful analysis of how the pioneers of social media live, curate and contest Facebook. This book exposes their engagement with networked publics, involving curated acts of presence and absence, connection and disconnection to archive the changing shape of young adulthood. With young people’s reflections at the centre of their analysis, Brady Robards and Siân Lincoln’s book sets new agendas for the study of social media and new questions for those interested in young people’s lives.”
—Johanna Wyn, Redmond Barry Distinguished Emeritus Professor,
Youth Research Centre, The University of Melbourne

“Unlike generations which grew up with TV, radio, and movies, to grow up on Facebook means that one’s life is sustained and somewhat enabled by a medium. This engaging book reveals what happens to human development as it is enveloped in the architecture of platforms. Brady Robards and Siân Lincoln offer remarkable insights on life, love and maintaining a sense of self while growing up, on Facebook and off.”
—Zizi Papacharissi, Professor and Head of Communication,
University of Illinois at Chicago

“A deeply nuanced look at the impacts of popular social media technologies. In a media environment dominated by breaking news and hot takes, Growing up on Facebook takes a serious examination of the longer-term effects of social media, looking at how young people’s identities and relationships are constructed through and with the platform. Drawing from cutting-edge media theory and rich empirical data, the stories told by Brady Robards and Siân Lincoln reveal how we grapple with a platform that archives our most personal digital interactions.”
—Alice E. Marwick, Assistant Professor,
Department of Communication & Principal Researcher, Center for Information, Technology and Public Life, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“How would it feel to be faced with your Facebook Timeline? By asking young people to reflect on their past and present selves, whether shown on or, significantly, often hidden from the platform, Brady Robards and Siân Lincoln insightfully peel back the contextual subtleties of identity work in the digital age.”
—Sonia Livingstone, Professor of Social Psychology,
Department of Media and Communications,
London School of Economics and Political Science

You can ask your library to order the book here:

We hope you enjoy and find it useful!