Identity in the Digital Age - about Identity Formation and Self-Presentation in Online Social Networks and the Possible Effects on our Offline Self’s Wellbeing at the Example of Instagram

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Title: Identity in the Digital Age - about Identity Formation and Self-Presentation in Online Social Networks and the Possible Effects on our Offline Self’s Wellbeing at the Example of Instagram
Other Titles: Identität im digitalen Zeitalter
Authors: Lang, Tami Louise
ORCID of the author: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6069-5551
Contributions by: Lang, Tami Louise
Abstract: Originating in the changes the digital age is bringing forth, the discussion on identity is being revitalized. Technological progress fostering the Web 2.0 has created an online environment in which digital media is no longer passively consumed but allows users to actively engage by creating content themselves and communicating with others, enabling social interaction independent of space and time. The allowance for constant connectivity and social interaction can ultimately be found in online social networks, which provide a platform to interconnect with other users. As social beings, humans are naturally drawn to these platforms as they provide an unprecedented networking opportunity to satisfy the need of social interaction and recognition. At the example of Instagram, central questions that function as guidelines throughout this thesis include the following: How is identity formed in online social networks and which mechanisms contribute to its formation? How is the self presented? Is the presentation real and authentic? How is the offline self influenced by a user’s online engagement in the network, and specifically: what are the negative consequences and how may the offline-self’s wellbeing be compromised? By referring to Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical identity theory, an actor – audience relationship is identified. By acknowledging a user’s engagement in impression management, the compatibility of an “ideal” and a “real” self is discussed in light of Heiner Keupp’s Patchwork-Identity theory and Higgins Self-discrepancy theory. As the body is put forward as primary identity characteristic presented on Instagram, concerns about the constant viewing of the self as a sexual object are expressed, as it may cause negative effects related to self-objectification. Negative outcomes include a user becoming aware of a potential discrepancy between idealized online presentations and the actual self offline, while a user’s wellbeing may further be compromised by a growing dependency on positive feedback, the engagement in social comparison, a potential deindividualization as well as a loss of privacy.
Citations: Bachelorarbeit Universität Osnabrück, Fachbereich 8 - Humanwissenschaften, Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft, Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Uwe Meyer, Osnabrück, 2018
URL: https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:gbv:700-201908151953
Subject Keywords: Identity; Digitalisation; Instagram; Identität; online; Identitätsbildung
Issue Date: 15-Aug-2019
License name: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Germany
License url: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/de/
Type of publication: Arbeitspapier [workingPaper]
Appears in Collections:FB08 - Hochschulschriften

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