What to Tell About Me? Self-Presentation in Online Communities



This paper investigates how the type of community and personal goals affect self-presentation. In 3 online studies, we simulated the registration process in online communities, presenting either a common-bond or a common-identity community. Study 1 confirmed that members of the common-bond community presented themselves in an individualizing manner, while members of the common-identity community focused on characteristics shared among members of the community. Study 2 investigated underlying processes, showing that the goal to get in contact with other members was less salient in the common-identity than in the common-bond community. Study 3 demonstrated that community members actively manage their self-presentation in accordance with personal goals. Based on these findings, we discuss implications for research and profile design.