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John Boy granted NWO XS for research Coming of Age on Instagram

Research often theorizes about young adults and their social media use. John Boy wants to investigate social media platforms by talking to users rather than talking about them. His research project Coming of Age on Instagram was granted a NWO XS grant and will map out how young adults shape, experience and manage their use of Instagram. The project will create theory together with the Instagram users by building on their own experiential expertise.

Seeing Instagram through users’ perspective

By talking to users of the platform and learning from them, sociologist John Boy hopes that science can move away from seeing users as victims (i.e. of vanity, addiction or all-powerful corporations) to seeing them as strategic in their use of platforms like Instagram to define their place in the world.

Hackathons and storytelling workshops

The one-year research will take place in The Netherlands. Boy will work with researcher Marije Peute on building an open dataset of transcripts from in-depth interviews with young adult Instagram users and running citizen science workshops to analyze these interviews. They plan to have 75 young adult participants in events like hackathons and storytelling workshops. The NWO XS grant is for just under 50.000 euros.

Image: Still from the documentary Instaworthy (2021) by Annemarie Rus and Marije Peute.

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