Many studies have investigated social networks. So far little work has been done to explore the virtual identity construction in social network communities. The virtual identity that an individual constructed in the social network community may not be exactly same as his/her identity in the physical world. Using self-discrepancy theory and social capital theory as theoretical foundations, this paper reports a qualitative study by interviewing members of communities (or large groups) on one of the largest social network sites in the world: QQ. The results of this study suggest that some people do indeed construct a virtual identity different from their identity in the physical world. Findings from this study reveal the complexity of virtual identity re-construction and people’s motivations to do so in social network communities. Theoretical contributions and implications for practice are described.
Hu, Chuan; Zhao, Li; and Huang, Jiao, "EXPLORING ONLINE IDENTITY RE-CONSTRUCTION IN SOCIAL NETWORK COMMUNITIES: A QUALITATIVE STUDY" (2014). PACIS 2014 Proceedings. 36.