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.
Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), Identity, Internet, Gossip, Power, Reputation, Rumours
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Recommended APA Citation
Nycyk, M. (2015). The Power Gossip and Rumour Have in Shaping Online Identity and Reputation: A Critical Discourse Analysis. The Qualitative Report, 20(2), 18-32. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol20/iss2/2