The 80th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology takes place from October 27th to November 1st 2017. Centre for Social Informatics PhD student Frances Ryan will be travelling to Washington, DC to present a poster at the conference. This work, which Frances has developed with the members of her supervision team (myself, Peter Cruickshank, and Alistair Lawson), is entitled ‘Building identity in online environments: an Information Science perspective‘.
The content of the poster draws on some of the findings from Frances’ doctoral study on the use of online information for personal reputation management. Specifically it relates the ways in which people use information to build identities for themselves online. It refers to a number of practices – such as the creation and deployment of online personas, and the use of anonymity and pseudonyms – on three social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The poster also presents the ways in which private and professional selves blur or merge together in online environments.
These findings are based on a qualitative analysis of diary and interview data from 45 UK participants. They are contextualised with reference to identity building in the more formal setting of academic reputation management, i.e. through the use of citations.
The main conclusion from this analysis is that individuals present elements of themselves using online information, but that they do not do so with the deliberate intention of building identity.