Image choice to represent the self in different online environments
journal contributionposted on 29.10.2015, 13:09 by M Whitty, J Doodson, S Creese, D Hodges
This paper draws from 'impression management theory' to examine the choices individuals make to visually represent themselves on Facebook and Twitter. We interviewed 20 participants about their image choice and the sorts of inferences others make about their identity. Participants were asked whether they believed their image influenced the types of people who connect with them, and whether their pictorial representation affected the topics and type of communication they have with other people. Contrary to previous research on online impression management, we found that few individuals were motivated to create a specific impression by playing with different images and instead individuals were motivated to appear genuine and authentic. Only a few desired hiding behind an avatar in order to feel freer to self-disclose. We found that Facebook and Twitter were perceived as very different spaces with different affordances and that these perceived affordances influenced participants' choice in image. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.