Creating a Self-Image

Face-Work and Identity Construction Online




Nicknamen, Nicknames, Benutzernamen, Facework, Social Media, Soziale Medien, Onomastik


In this article, we build on research arguing that linguistic self-representation on social media can be viewed as a form of face-work and that the strategies employed by users are influenced by both a desire to connect with others and a need to preserve privacy. Drawing on our own analyses of usernames as well as that of others which were conducted as part of a large-scale project investigating usernames in 14 languages (Schlobinski/T. Siever 2018a), we argue that these conflicting goals of wanting to be recognised as an authen­tic member of an in-group while retaining a degree of anonymity are also observable in the choice of username. Online self-naming can thus be viewed as a key practice in the debate of face-work on social media platforms, because names and naming strategies can be stud­ied more readily than broader and more complex aspects, such as stylistic variation or text-image interdependence, while at the same time forming part of these.


2020-07-03 — aktualisiert am 2021-02-25



Kersten, S., & Lotze, N. (2021). Creating a Self-Image: Face-Work and Identity Construction Online. Journal für Medienlinguistik, 2(2), 123–156. (Original work published 3. Juli 2020)