Transcript of The Impact of Social Media on Identity Construction
The social identity theory suggests that ‘individuals strive to maintain or enhance their self esteem; they strive for a positive self concept’.
In previous generations who were without the internet, would have to prove that they achieved something by actually doing it to receive the recognition and gratification.
The introduction of online social networking in the 21st century has added a new dimension to the theory of social identity as people are given a chance to effectively portray themselves, what they do, what they care about and even how old they are inaccurately in order to receive recognition, gratification or acceptance.
Online Media, Culture & Networks Effect on Identity
Social media has caused people to move away from their real self-identities due to negative messages displayed by the media and other social forces. Dobson (2002) suggests that self-identity is a ‘global understanding someone has of themselves (and) is composed of relatively permanent self-assessments.
In previous generations social forces and media messages influencing people’s self-identities were a lot more positive and far outweighed the negative. Popular culture has also had a massive impact on identity and has created ‘portraits of who it wants us to be. This leads to people shielding certain information that they think will not be accepted by what their peers or other groups of people might think of them
This behaviour can be related to the networking theory or the social networking theory as people and groups who surround or are close to each other ‘share the same characteristics, values and social statuses’
The Idea of Having a Second Self
With the growing popularity of online social networks, they have brought with them developments in identity construction in the form of users creating an avatar or ‘second self.’
Having an online ‘self’ or avatar enables people’s identities to be ‘entirely generated by what can be typed or posted in images and text.
This enables online users the power to create themselves as someone who does not mirror who they are in reality.