Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 1033–1054 | Cite as

How is language used to craft social presence in Facebook? A case study of an undergraduate writing course

  • Jessica Gordon


This quantitative content analysis examines the way social presence was created through original posts and comments in a Facebook group for an undergraduate writing course. The author adapted a well-known coding template and examined how course members—one instructor, two undergraduate teaching assistants and twenty-two students--used language and image to generate social presence. Language is categorized by purpose, and each category is a social presence indicator. The results show which social presence indicators are used more frequently by course members and that social presence is higher when certain social presence indicators are utilized. Since existing research indicates that social presence is associated with increased course satisfaction and learning, these findings provide practical knowledge for faculty seeking to increase social presence in their classes. This is a case study with a small population, but these results indicate the need for additional research to further explore how language and image are used to generate social presence in Facebook.


Facebook Social presence Community of inquiry Online learning 



Many thanks to Jeanine Guidry, doctoral student at Virginia Commonwealth University, for her comprehensive and exhaustive help with this research, and to Marcus Messner, for his support and assistance with this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Focused InquiryVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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