You are what you post: Using Social Network Profiles to express identity




Gearhart, Sherice

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The popularity of online social network sites, such as MySpace, has led their use to become an important part of young people's lives. This thesis examines how Social Network Profiles (SNPs) are working as an expression of personal and social identity, and which identities are most salient in this medium. Using symbolic interactionism and identity theory the social and personal identities SNP authors are simultaneously expressing through SNPs were explored using nine identity categories. Using a content analysis to examine 285 SNPs authored by members of the Net Generation, this thesis identified content features of SNPs that are an expression of identity. Findings proved SNPs to be an important medium for identity construction. Results of the analysis showed a positive correlation among social and personal identities, but more specifically social identity proved to be more salient than personal identity, likely to facilitate social interaction by drawing SNP visitors' attention via personal representations.


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Identity, Identity theory, MySpace, Social Network Profiles, Symbolic Interactionism