Situating Social Identity through Language Convergence in Online Groups

Situating Social Identity through Language Convergence in Online Groups

Scott L. Crabill (Oakland University, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-984-7.ch091
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Abstract

According to social identity theory, individuals create and maintain their social identity through group membership. During face-to-face interactions within a group, people assess various verbal and nonverbal cues to influence the perceptions of themselves by others. However, in the context of online communication these cues are not as readily available. A screen name can be viewed as part of an individual’s “social identity creation”: a message that members of online discussion boards interpret and react to while trying to situate themselves within the group. This chapter explores how language convergence can function as a cue that facilitates situating social identity within online in-groups. Results of a content analysis of 400 screen names suggest that the screen names of discussion board members serve as an organizing variable for participants to situate themselves socially within the context of online interaction.

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