Rural young people's perspectives on online sociality: crossing geography and exhibiting self through Facebook

Catherine J. Waite, Lisa Bourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Rural deficit discourses maintain that young people are disadvantaged by the rurality of where they live. Consistent with this is an assumption the Internet will alleviate isolation through its ability to collapse physical and temporal constraints. This article challenges such modes of understanding by privileging young Australian rural people's voices and perspectives about online social environments. Focusing on the social networking site Facebook, the question of whether rural young people make use of the site to cross geography is posed. In order to cut through rhetoric positing a redemptive, transcending online space, Hogan's revision of Goffman's 'presentation of self' thesis is utlised to analyse how rural young people talk about using Facebook. Rather than realising the total collapse of geographic boundaries, young rural people talked about using the site to mold careful, but representative images of themselves to interact with their friends at a place and time of their choosing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-218
Number of pages19
JournalRural Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • crossing geography
  • Facebook
  • Goffman
  • rural
  • young people

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