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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Teresa Bergman

First Committee Member

Marlin Bates

Second Committee Member

Heather Hether


The following study examined identity construction and community formation within the comic book fan community on the social media website, Twitter It had three objectives It investigated how comic book fans constructed their respective identities on Twitter, explored how fans came to identify with the comic book community and why it formed, and aimed to discover how the community was maintained and expanded The study applied an ethnographic method that relied on the analysis of dialogue Ten comic book fans (five males, five females) that frequently used Twitter to communicate with other fans were video interviewed It was found that comic book fans constructed their identities using their Twitter biography and profile picture and they all believed they were communicating their true and genuine selves The biography, profile picture, and tweets reinforced the rhetoric of what it meant to be a comic book fan It was this visual and written rhetoric that enabled comic book fans to identify with one another and bring the community into being Without this rhetoric, there is no community The community maintained itself through the continued reinforcement of this rhetoric It expanded itself by bringing comic book fans from different backgrounds, locations, and nationalities together online around a shared interest The study also found that the relationships formed within the community could develop into real friendships, the same caliber of friendship that individuals would normally have with those they knew and met in real life.





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