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Abstract

What is posted on the Internet about a person’s identity and reputation has the potential power to affect others’ perceptions of them. This study aims to understand and describe how this occurs by undertaking a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of the website Lamebook. It asks in what ways people’s online identity and reputation are shaped by others, or by one’s self, that may influence others’ opinions about them and how is this being done? The results suggest several characteristics of power relations are being exercised by people against others and themselves that harm their identity and reputation. These are achieved through gossiping and spreading rumours to persuade readers to believe harmful information about others and themselves. This study demonstrates the importance of being aware of how Internet users present themselves online and the potentially harmful consequences this has when viewed by a potentially large and unknown audience. The implications of this study advise Internet users to consider carefully potential negative outcomes to one’s identity and reputation from negative information and illustrate how others possess power to shape these in a harmful way.

Keywords

Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), Identity, Internet, Gossip, Power, Reputation, Rumours

Author Bio(s)

Michael Nycyk is a Master’s Student and consultant researcher in the Department of Internet Studies, School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, but based in Brisbane, Australia. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to Michael Nycyk at Email: michael.nycyk@gmail.com

Publication Date

2-2-2015

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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