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Judith Rosenbaum (University of Maine) (Colloquium)

Monday 19 June 2023Add to my calendar
13:00 to
MM 00.130
Sanne Tamboer
Judith Rosenbaum
Shift happens: Exploring identity shift theory and its application on social media platforms

Identities are not created in a vacuum; one’s sense of self is the result of social interactions. More specifically, people actively adjust their self-concept to ensure that their identity aligns with how they behave in front of others. In computer-mediated communication, this transformation in one’s self-concept after observing one’s own public behavior is known as identity shift. Identity shift has been shown to occur, for example, when people are asked to present themselves in an extraverted manner in an online and public setting; in these situations people are more likely to internalize the trait of extraversion than when they engaged in such behavior in a more private setting (Gonzales & Hancock, 2008). Identity shift is especially relevant to understanding how and under what conditions audience engagement with social media content, such as liking, sharing, or commenting on posts and videos produced by brands and non-profit organizations might impact audience attitudes.

This colloquium will provide an overview of recent and ongoing research into identity shift on social media platforms, shedding light on the boundary conditions for identity shift and providing directions for future research. As such, it can be relevant to researchers in various themes within the BSI. Judith Rosenbaum will present the tenets of the recently developed Identity Shift Theory (Carr et al., 2021). Then she will then discuss findings from recent empirical research, including two studies that examined how identity shift plays out in situ on Facebook and Twitter (Johnson & Rosenbaum, 2022), a study that looked into the warranting cues associated with different types of social media posts and shares (Rosenbaum et al., 2021), and an ongoing research project that examines under what conditions sharing on social media works a form of slacktivism or identity shift (Johnson, et al., in progress).

About the speaker
Judith E. Rosenbaum is an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine. Her research is focused on understanding how people use media in their daily lives and how this usage is related to their identities, relationships, and perceptions of reality. She has examined topics such as social media and democracy; spoilers, enjoyment, and media selection; news literacy and fake news; dating preferences and online dating apps; and the impact of sharing behaviors in online environments. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Media Psychology, Communication Research, Computers in Human Behavior, and Journal of Media Psychology. Her first book, Constructing digital cultures: Tweets, trends, race, and gender appeared in 2018, and in 2020 she co-edited a volume entitled Twitter, the public sphere, and the chaos of online deliberation. She is currently co-authoring the second edition of a textbook Computer-Mediated Communication: Approaches and Perspectives due to appear in 2024.

Sanne Tamboer

Please send an e-mail to sanne.tamboer@ru.nl