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Personal Branding ThroughImagification in Social Media: Identity Creation and Alteration Through Images
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Business, Marketing.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The general purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate how individuals today, in a societywhere people spend more and more time on social media, create and alter their identity throughimages. The study is focused on Instagram, the most widespread social media only focused onphotos. The study is based on a postmodern perspective and focuses on symbolic interactionism,identity capital and psychological self. The empirical data was collected through semi-structuredinterviews with fifteen Instagram users, most of who are from the Stockholm, Sweden region. Thestudy was influenced by the Grounded Theory method where emergent themes describing howindividuals alter and create their identity through images were deduced from the interviews. Thesethemes were: showing a nuanced image of themselves, images as a means of conveying identity forrecognition, imagification as personal branding tool and reflexive social interaction.The findings suggest that individuals show only a selected, a nuanced, part of their identity onInstagram and Instagram gives a greater freedom to express what people want to express as theiridentity and their self. By using photos in social media individuals are not as limited as they wouldotherwise be in the real world in terms of how they want to market their identity. But there is also afrustration among many users of Instagram and other social media as many feel that the nuancedand perfected image that many people convey is fake and annoying to see and this could thus havea negative impact on that person’s personal brand. Images were seen to be more efficient than textfor the purpose of personal branding and it also appeared that identity creation through imagescould create a more expressive society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Social media, Instagram, Identity, Personal branding, Social interaction, Symbolic interactionism, Images
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-98967OAI: diva2:685990
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-10 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved

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