Online Identities: National and Cultural Expression Online, an Australian Perspective

Celia Lam


Over the last decade the genesis and use of Social Networking Sites (SNS) has steadily gained traction with the almost instant popularity of sites such as Youtube, Facebook, Cyworld and Twitter to name a few. In Australia, as in the rest of the developed and developing world, Social Media (SM) use has become an integral part of the communication, entertainment and media practices of large sections of the population, with participation in online communities often employing the same social capital and patterns of communication that occur in offline encounters. Online interaction in SNS necessitates the creation of an individual’s online identity, and with it notions of representation and group-affiliation come to the fore. The policy of multiculturalism in Australia encourages the interaction of minority (ethnic) Cultural identities with the dominant (national) Australian identity. This study examines the role online interaction plays in an individual’s engagement with these two notions of identity by focusing on the SM use of students at a University in Australia. Results reveal a highly nuanced expression of self-hood where National and Cultural identities are enacted as minor components of a holistic Personal online identity.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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