From Youthful Experimentation to Professional Identity: Understanding Identity Transitions in Social Media
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The process of self-presentation is significantly complicated for people growing up with social media. Many individuals have time-stamped digital footprints in social media from early youth to adulthood. However, little is known about long-term consequences for these individuals, their experience of time, and their identity transition from youthful experimentation to a professional identity in social media. Through 15 in-depth interviews, our study explores challenges concerning identity transition and impression management in social media for young adults who have recently entered working life as journalists. Our participants described how they curated their image and self-censored both their previous and current self-generated content in social media. We also find that many have actively opted for passive and peace-keeping self-presentation and use of social media or for turning their usage into private messaging platforms, masking their online identity. Some participants indicated they felt trapped by their own identity making in social media.