Creating a Self-Image: Face-Work and Identity Construction Online

Saskia Kersten, Netaya Lotze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-156
Number of pages34
JournalJournal for Media Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020


  • onomastics
  • usernames
  • self-naming
  • face-work
  • digitally mediated interaction


Dive into the research topics of 'Creating a Self-Image: Face-Work and Identity Construction Online'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this