Facebook and dramauthentic identity: A post-Goffmanian theory of identity performance on SNS

  • D. E. Wittkower Old Dominion University
Keywords: Self-Presentation, Personal Identity, Facebook, Social Networking Sites (SNS), Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), context collapse, Erving Goffman


Early and persistent scholarly concerns with online identity emphasized the ways that computer–mediated communications have allowed new, inventive, and creative presentations of self, and the lack of connection between online identity and the facts of off–line life. After the ascendency and following ubiquity of Facebook, we find our online lives transformed. We have not only seen online identity reconnected to off–line life, but we have seen, through the particular structures of social networking sites, our online lives subjected to newfound pressures to unify self–presentations from various constitutive communities; pressures different from and in some ways greater than those of off–line life. After describing identity in computer–mediated communications prior to Facebook, and investigating the kinds of changed conditions brought about in social networking sites, I put forth a dramauthentic model of post–Facebook online identity. This model is comprised of three methods of exposure through multiply anchored self–presentation (mixed, agonistic, and lowest–common–denominator) and four strategies of interaction (spectacular, untidy, distributed, and minimized), each of which are employed non–exclusively and at different moments by most social networking site users.

Author Biography

D. E. Wittkower, Old Dominion University

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

How to Cite
Wittkower, D. E. (2014). Facebook and dramauthentic identity: A post-Goffmanian theory of identity performance on SNS. First Monday, 19(4). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i4.4858