Social Media Identity and Influencers

Social Media Identity and Influencers

Literature Review

The social media is one of the most recent developments that have influenced different sectors. While initially intended for social interaction, the social media has expanded its scope of influence permeating to all spheres of life. This literature review analyzes the current literature on social media identity and influencers.

Social media plays a critical role in identity construction. Social media profiles create a specific identity that helps in identifying a person, event or any other issue. Social media tools like blogs, homepages, online profiles, and others use pictures, avatars, icons, video, nicknames, and others that helps to create a unique identity (Jewitt & Triggs, 2006; Lemke, 2005).  A number of researchers opine that these items are important symbolic markers of their identity and they serve as figures that identify them from a crowd. In their view of identity through the lens of postmodern identity theories, (Lemke, 2005) argue that identity is decentered and fluid because it is mainly constituted in some unstable relations. This means individuals strive to create identities through mediating media like online profiles (Gunduz, 2017). This means identity can shift from the well-known physical space into digital space because it is dynamic and cannot be limited to only one media (Akbari, 2018). The social media provides one of the emerging platforms for creating of new identities. Social Media Identity and Influencers

The social media has emerged as an important medium of expressing identity. It provides a platform for engaging with like-minded people or individuals with interest in the new identity. Creation of identity through the social media can be understood in through the lens of Goffman (1959) postulation of face-to-face interaction. The author posits that such interactions are based on the relationship between actor and audience and when an individual interact with others, they are attempting to create a certain identity through which others can see and identity them. Building on Goffman’s (1959) work, Lemke (2005) talks about the ‘chronotopes’ to define the space in the social media  which create temporal and spatial dimensions which are linked to construction of identity. Social Media Identity and Influencers In addition, identity creation in the social medias is not limited to the image alone, but also other factors like messaging (Zhao, Grasmuck  & Martin, 2008), network of friends and followers (Lemke, 2005), and the  screen space that provides the space for interaction (Jewitt & Triggs, 2006; Gunduz, 2017). Therefore, there is enough research evidence which shows that power of social media in shaping identity.Social Media Identity and Influencers

One of the emergent social media identities is social influencers. There are several factors why some social “selves” or identities gain more influence than others in a given social group. These factors range from expertise, leadership abilities, demographic similarities, reference group influence, and perceptual affinity (Langner, Hennig and Wiedmann, 2013). Available research shows that the power of influencer has grown from the predisposition of the ability of certain identities’ influence on others (Langner et al., 2013; Gunduz, 2017).

Social Media Identity and Influencers

From a marketing or social influence perspective, the power to influence is harnessed to create a large followership that becomes valuable to advance a given social cause. Just like the traditional sources of influence, the social media has provided a novel way of harnessing influence around one medium.  Questioning the power of social media influencers, Elsbury (2019) likens the social media influencers to pre-social media celebrities whose endorsement was sought to influence a social cause. The author contends that just like the traditional celebrities cultivated an identity that attracted followership, the modern social media influencer has the same allure and power to drive a social cause through their followership. However, Langner et al. (2013) is quick to point out that the real power lies in the social media identity and how this identity connects with the followers. Anyone seeking influencers must be wary of the identity and how this identity connects with the target audience.Social Media Identity and Influencers

In conclusion, social media has emerged as one of the most important platform in creating new identities. It provides a new medium of digital mediated identities that is built through unique identifier like an image or name, discussion space, and others providing a new ways of engaging with like-minded friends and followers.  Social media has created a new medium of influencing people through harnessing power of social media influencers. The social media has created a new ways of social engagement creating through which social media identities can create and advance agendas. Social Media Identity and Influencers

Subject Profile


The influencer

User Name:

Respond to a current news event

Short biography:

The democrat campaigner is a leading social influencer advocating for the rights of LBGTQ community. #LGBTQRights Social Media Identity and Influencers

Here is the profile of the social influencer campaigner in Tweeter responding to the killing of LGBTQ in Australia:


There is a connection between the literature review and literature review, the subject profile and the scenario. The social media is creating a new avenue for identities especially in giving power to influencers (Zhao et al., 2008). In the subject profile, the name “Democrat Campaigner” is used to create a new identity the clearly shows the intention of the profile as a campaigner for democratic ideals for progressive human rights. Through the profile name, it is easier to identify the affiliation (Jewitt & Triggs, 2006; Lemke, 2005). It is evident that the name democrat infers to a follower who likes progressive humanity, hence, it is easy to make an affiliation. From this affiliation, any like-minded individual will easily identify and connect with the profile if they are believers of democratic ideals. Social Media Identity and Influencers

Social Media Identity and Influencers

The scenario in this case is responding to current news event, which is in this case is killing of 18 transgender in 2020 as reported by CBC News. The main viewpoint expressed in this scenario is the support the rights of LGBTQ community by making the followers aware of what is happening to them. This scenario is related to the perceived social influence in the social media where the platform is used to connect with people who share the same ideals (Langner et al., 2013; Gunduz, 2017). LGBTQ rights are values that are strongly held by the digital generation and this profile is suitable for engaging with the digital natives (Gunduz, 2017). The profile is therefore the right choice of engagement medium.Social Media Identity and Influencers

Social Media Posts

  1. Let our people make the choice for their sexual affiliation. #LGBTQ is not a crime
  2. Stop killing LGBTQ! #18isnotjustanumber.
  3. It is time for all to stand for LGBTQ community. They are our brothers and sisters and their rights should be upheld let our women make the choice for a free abortion. #LGBTQ rights now  #Rainbow
  4. Democrats for LGBTQ reforms. #Democratspledge – All LBGTQ require protection under the law. Support the  #LGBTQ Social Media Identity and Influencers


Akbari, A 2018, Identity in the Age of Social Media, [Online] available at: [Accessed 8 Sep. 2020].

Elsbury, K, 2019, Are Social Media Influencers Worth The Investment? [Online] available at:  [Accessed 8 Sep. 2020].Social Media Identity and Influencers

Goffman, E 1959, The Presentation of self in Everyday Life. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Gunduz, U 2017, “The Effect of Social Media on Identity Construction,” Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 8 no 5, pp. 85-92.

Jewitt, C and Triggs, T (eds.) 2006, Screens and the social landscape, London: Sage.

Lemke J. L. 2009, “Multimodality, Identity, and Time.” In Jewitt, C. (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis, London: Routledge.

Zhao S, Grasmuck S, and Martin, J 2008, “Identity construction on Facebook: Digital empowerment in anchored relationships,” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 24, no. 5. pp. 1816-1836.

Langner S, Hennig Ns, and  Wiedmann, K 2013 “Social Persuasion: Targeting Social Identities Through Social Influencers”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 30, no. 1, pp.31-49.Social Media Identity and Influencers