Social Identity Approach in a Digital World

A prominent idea in social psychology is the social identity approach, which suggests that we all have different identities depending on the situation we’re in. Although there are clearly through lines through identities, to a certain extent these identities differ in terms of affect, behaviors, and cognitions. That is, I may think and act very differently in the same situation, depending on what identity is active at the time. The common example I like to give in class is that you probably act differently in front of your grandma than you would at a party with friends. I know I would!

What this week really showed me was that this extends quite well into the digital world. Not necessarily that we have a digital identity (i.e., a set of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that only relate to our online selves), but that our digital behaviors are reflective of the identity that’s active at a certain time. After starting my digital identity analysis, I quickly realized that my I behave very differently online depending on whether my professional self or my personal self is active at the time. I tend to behave a lot more like a resident when my professional identity is active and a lot more of a visitor when my personal identity is active.

I’ll be curious to see how my professional and personal social identities change over the course of this program (and my career). I would like to be more residential in my use of technology in the classroom (or more creation and conversation in the triangle model), and I hope this class will help me accomplish that. I also hope that I can facilitate students being more residential in their use of technology in their professional identities. Being a marketer in this age means that they are going to have to learn to create engaging content and have real conversations in the digital world.

(1) Comment

  1. Susan

    Miles, I am curious what your reflections will be on your digital identities as you participate in this DigPINS learning community. I hope in future blogs you share your thoughts with us. I think your example of Grandma and partying with friends is tangible not only for the students in your courses but also for this topic.

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