Social media: Identity

Social media use mobile and apps to create highly interactive platforms. Social media allows users to: share; co-create; discuss and modify content. Social media members have, intentional or unintentional, online identities.

Identity on social media

Essentially we use social media to broadcast who we are, what we believe in, as well as, displaying elements of our personality. Motives cause social media use. LinkedIn, for example, is usually set up by users with the motive to promote oneself. Twitter user’s are largely motivated by communication.

Indirectly social media communicates to other users. Age, race and gender can all be indirectly gathered from a LinkedIn portrait photo. Many social media identities are indirectly communicated.

Social media identity can be explicit through, say, user profiles, or implicitly expressed by sharing personal tweets. Social media identity is influenced by the choice of media. LinkedIn, for example, influences real life names rather than encouraging nick names on Tumblr or a blog.

Marketer Michiel Gaasterland looks at the social media affect. Social media is like touching still water and developing ripples from contact. Seeing a newspaper article, for example, means a story will be seen by lots of unique visitors. This story, if catchy and interesting, will be blogged about by popular blogs who will also have their article blogged about by smaller bloggers. Another ripple could be people sharing a headline on Twitter, for instance. These shares will get likes and retweets which allows other people to spread articles.

Viral marketing uses the social media affect to spread a message to a lot of people on social media websites within a specified time frame.

In a social network the nodes are the individuals and the links correspond to relationships — who is talking to whom, who is communicating with whom on a regular basis.
(Papacharissi 2011)

All approved, or unapproved, online data can be collected. Writing about yourself and your life and sharing this information as an uploaded picture, for instance, defines you for many people. Active social media users create online identities.

The affect of social media on small businesses.

Social media and small business. Source: Dean Meyers.

Social media demographic tools*

Social Report
Social Report’s paid analytical program can help you gather a range of social media demogrphic data including, for instance, gender; education level and employment. You can also compare data between social media accounts to spot interesting differences and find out how you can maximise different social media accounts by knowing your audience.
A dashboard-led interface allows paying user’s to monitor and examine historical data. Cyfe can help understand your social media users.
Google Analytics
Setting up Google Analytic goals allows you to monitor social media activity and conversions. This is useful if you want to evaluate the success of a social media special promotion campaign, for example.

*Modified from Hines (2013: online) who also states that social media analytic tools can also improve engagement, marketing decisions and bottom line profits. Social media identity is very powerful.

Social media and identity

  • Why social media use apps? Mobile apps increase interactivity.
  • Our identity depends upon the actual social media account created. This explains why LinkedIn users are different from, say, Google+ or Facebook users.
  • The social media affect influences social media buzz’s.
  • All social media data can be collected and analysed. This is why person’s can be brought into a legal court for breaking national laws.
  • There are some paid for social media tools that allow users to know and understand their audience.

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  1. Claypoole, T. and Payton, T. (2012) Protecting your internet identity: Are you naked online? Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc: Plymouth, United Kingdom.
  2. Hines, K. (2013) 4 tools that improve your social media analytics. [Online] [Accessed on 31st October 2013]
  3. Kietzmann, J.H. Hermkens, K. McCartney, I.P. and Silvestre, B.S. (2011) Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons. 2011(54) pp. 241 — 251
  4. Papacharissi, Z. (2011) A networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites. Routledge: New York.
  5. Turner, J. and Oakes, P. (1986) The significance of the social identity concept for social psychology with reference to individualism, interactionism and social influence. British Journal of Social Psychology. 25 (3): 237–252.

2 responses to “Social media: Identity

  1. Pingback: Social media: Identity | PRIMAL Test

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