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26-29 May 2015
Europe/Berlin timezone
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Contribution Complete Research Paper

Fürstenberghaus - F2
07 - Social Media Research Analytics

Identity-making: A Multimodal Approach for Researching Identity in Social Media


  • Kai RIEMER

Primary authors



As social media becomes ubiquitous in people’s lives, concepts of identity and self-presentation are increasingly drawn upon to understand its use and value. However, the growing body of literature is lacking in conceptual clarity. Moreover, our current understanding of identity is severely circum-scribed by what has been called an essentialist view of identity that leads to unhelpful distinctions between people’s offline, ‘real’ identities and their presentation ‘online’. In this conceptual paper we turn to the broader multidisciplinary literature to develop a coherent non-essentialist alternative for understanding self and identity. We derive a framework that describes identity-making as an active achievement involving reflective, narrative and active modes. We illustrate the usefulness of our framework for revealing identity-related phenomena in both public and workplace social media. We offer our framework as a way to ask new questions and reveal in new ways existing identity-related phenomena within the IS discipline.