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  • Writer's pictureSofya Marso

Evolution of Personal brand. Online self identity.

Updated: 4 days ago

When was the last time you checked your social media? What was the reason? That does not seem that necessary or so important, doesn`t it? In the ingrained contemporary nature of social media and online appearance, most of us struggle to keep off the internet and be more present in the “real” life. I surely split daily between the two constantly thinking about when to post next, or what I am going to write about. As an artist and artisan, I use social media as an outlet to promote my work, for professional purposes indeed. I am constantly adding products to the meadow of online consumerism. My creations reflect me as an individual as well as show my skills. My performative online identity is based on branding concepts that I learned in marketing. As Smith et al. (2013, p. 79) summons self-branding is a borrowed concept from commercial practices and implies a presentation of images and stories published through social media. The concept of self-advertising and the performative nature of the individual was based on Ervin Goffman`s theory in books Presentation of Self and Gender Advertising (Hancock et al. 2015, p. 173). He defines individual life as a performance of different characters or masks that come to life according to the situation and the audience.

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“THE WORLD IS A STAGE AND EVERYONE IS AN ACTOR.”

― William Shakespeare




Theatre by Vladimir Tro ,20 May 2019, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Theatre by Vladimir Tro ,20 May 2019, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Theatre by Vladimir Tro ,20 May 2019, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Yet, if you have not studied marketing and simply use social media you still subconsciously follow some pattern and performance. Hancock et al. (2015) talk about colonisation and invasion of Self, which implies an adaptation of certain strategies through observing others, a behavioural plagiarism that for most individuals is concealed in the abyss of subconsciousness which might leads to the loss of authenticity and spontaneity. Though witnessing my toddler who is learning a lot from observation of other kids this statement might be not entirely true. Authenticity is not lost, but new skill is adopted. Spontaneity is not lost, but curiosity leads to exploring fresh experiences. I think it might be in our intrinsic instinctive nature learn from observation, an individual can follow the pattern to perform their own story. 




An infographic showing the complexity of analysis of online identity based on Smith et al. (2013) theory. Created with Vennagage.An infographic showing the complexity of analysis of online identity based on Smith et al. (2013) theory. Created with Vennagage.
An infographic showing the complexity of analysis of online identity based on Smith et al. (2013) theory. Created with Vennagage.


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But what makes one unique? And why do some become recognisable and others keep doing it for a small audience of family and friends? I see it as a blend of personality traits and peculiarities. As an example, my late focus is making hats and there are many other hat-makers out there. There is a hat-maker who loves dancing and makes her videos and reels dancing with her product. Another hat-maker is also a painter and paints flowers over her hats. My hats are hand sculpted, with a gem hidden inside as I usually put beautiful lining. I love tactile art and textured surfaces.


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This leads to the idea presented by Marshall (2010) about celebrity culture pioneering the patterns of behavior for the masses. Those whose life is already public generate a content for social media which can be done by themselves or managed by an agency. Would you still follow someone if you find out that their online persona is actually a team of people who carefully select the information they present? It is a question of authenticity. Authenticity is a subjective matter due to the ideology around ‘truth’ and ‘genuineness’ (Smith et el. 2013, p. 75). I certainly would prefer to see about the life of a person from a person`s perspective.

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I find that these tools of self-promotion push me to explore new skills. As a social introvert (less social more introvert) it can be challenging to show off myself and my work. I am still learning how to construct captivating reels for Instagram and how to make videos where I am speaking clearly and making sense.


Public Self by Sofya Marso, 27 November 2023 @marso_so_art (CC BY-NC)
Public Self by Sofya Marso, 27 November 2023 @marso_so_art (CC BY-NC)


It is my Public self that I put out online (Marshall 2010). I only show some parts of my life which mainly revolve around my work with a drop of more intimate moments of my daily life. Yet, I often doubt if to write profound captions on Instagram thinking that no one will read them apart from a few close friends. But I do it anyway as it is a part of who I am. Starting the Blog will help me transcend my blockages and share more my ideas shamelessly since the writer in me is well overdue to blossom. Whoever will be reading it will be able to dive into my mind. There is an evolution of online Sofya`s identity right here in this first-ever public Blog Post. I am taking off, Buckle up!!!

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References:

Smith, S and Watson, J 2014, ‘Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation’, in Poletti, A and Rak, J (eds.), Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp. 70-95.

Marshall, P.D 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 35-48.

Hancock, B. H., & Garner, R. (2015). Erving Goffman: Theorizing the Self in the Age of Advanced Consumer Capitalism. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour45(2), 163–187. https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12062

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