Social identity


Table of Contents

In the twenty-first century, there has been an increasing use of the internet, a factor that has led to the creation of social media platforms. Particularly, the use of social networks has registered a substantial encroachment on people’s social identity. Social media platforms encourage various forms of social interactions and communication. For this reason, the extended use of social media can impact an individual’s social self-identity (Pan et al., 2017). Particularly, the interactions on social media may actuate an individual to comprehend the self at a different level. There is evidence that the usage of social media motivates individuals to consider themselves as members of the social group. It is imperative to analyze critically the specific ways in which social media influence a person’s social identity.


Social media can influence a person’s social self-identity. Distinctly, social media use affects social identity at the collective and relational levels. The collective social identity motivates an individual to consider the self as a recognized member of a specific social category (Chan, 2014). The social category demonstrates shared characteristics and values that contribute to the growth of the social identity. Recent research has demonstrated that social media usage can influence a person’s relational identity (Karbo, 2006). There is evidence that the continued use of social media influences a person’s percept towards the self with special attention on the emotional connections between the individual and other members of the group. The interactions on social media can foster the development of social identity at the relational and collective levels.

The use of social media encourages the development of community-oriented behaviors that are likely to maintain the person’s social identity. Individuals on social media assay to partake in various activities or behaviors to develop a sense of belonging. There has been a significant impact on social media interactions on the social identity of young people. There is evidence of young people embracing new forms of interactions and communications as a way of enhancing their social identity and experiencing a higher sense of belonging (Jackson, Harris, & Valentine, 2017). On the other hand, relational identity enhances significantly as social media users exhibit a higher level of commitment to individual relationships (Martiny & Kessler, 2014). As social media users develop a higher level of relational identity, they are more likely to engage in various activities that reinforce their identity. It is crucial to understand that social media usage registers differential effect on the users. Individuals are likely to experience a stronger social identity depending on their motivations.


Social media usage enhances a better perception of diversity. Particularly, the interactions are likely to influence a person’s perspective regarding different categories of people. It is easy for individuals to embrace a broader perspective of social identity and become more receptive to diverse people making up the community. The increased use of social media serves to strengthen the existing relationships with other users. Individuals who register a higher frequency of using social media networks are likely to exhibit more evident impacts on their social identity (Zouhri & Rateau, 2015). Such individuals invest significantly with the core objective of maintaining their acquired social identity. On the other hand, individuals who rarely use social media only register a minimal investment in establishing and maintaining their social identity. The use of social media also presents an individual with an opportunity to represent the self and to embrace behaviors of managing the acquired social identity.

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  1. Chan, M. (2014). Social identity gratifications of social network sites and their impact on collective action participation. Asian Journal of Social Psychology17(3), 229-235.
  2. Jackson, L., Harris, C., & Valentine, G. (2017). Rethinking concepts of the strange and the stranger. Social & Cultural Geography, 18(1), 1.
  3. Karbo, K. (2006). Friendship: the laws of attraction. Psychology Today, 39(6), 90-95.
  4. Martiny, S., & Kessler, T. (2014). Managing one’s social identity: Successful and unsuccessful identity management. European Journal of Social Psychology44(7), 748-757.
  5. Pan, Z., Lu, Y., Wang, B., & Chau, P. Y. (2017). Who Do You Think You Are? Common and Differential Effects of Social Self-Identity on Social Media Usage. Journal of Management Information Systems, 34(1), 71.
  6.  Zouhri, B., & Rateau, P. (2015). Social representation and social identity in the black sheep effect. European Journal of Social Psychology45(6), 669-677.
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