Year of Graduation
Development of Place Identity Expressed Through Social Media: the Case of Saint Petersburg Freshmen
This work aims to research the process of development of new place identity for students who move to Saint Petersburg to pursue higher education, and the representation of this process in social media. This study is based on text analysis of students’ posts in “Vkontakte” SNS, using word2vec model. Spatial analysis and analysis of the corpus were used as well. Theoretically, this work uses concepts of “place identity” and “spatial self”. Place identity describes what part physical setting and places in space take in one’s self-identity, and “spatial self” —— identity performance, including on-line, through instances of experience or mobility in space. Place identity representation I split in 12 topics, each differently representing aspects of this process. I compare shares of each topic in posts for two groups: “locals” and “non-locals”, for each time period. I also research changes in topic usage during all time of observation. As a result, I suggest seeing the process of development of new place identity in two stages. I also confirm some of the conclusions made in earlier studies of place identity development for students, who come from other places to study. I find some interesting patterns of the dynamics of the topic usage in posts by local and not local students.