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Self Presentation in Online Communities

Knowledge Construction Lab


July 2008 to June 2012


Leibniz Graduate School for Knowledge Media Research


User profiles are an inherent part in most of today’s Online Communities. Through user profiles community members present themselves and get in contact to each other. User profiles facilitate communication processes. The project investigates the influence of the type of community on self-presentation, based on the differentiation of common bond and common identity groups. Common bond and common identity groups differ in attachment and interaction style. In common bond communities, such as for example the popular Networking Community Facebook, interpersonal relations between particular community members are essential. Common identity communities rather focus on a common topic, goal or task, carried out by the group as an entity. Core feature of Wikipedia for example is the collaborative created lexicon.

The profile design varies to a high degree between communities. Profiles either provide a rich picture of peoples interests, activities and personality or rather concentrate on professional career and expertise. However, since the majority of user profiles comprise predefined fields, it is not clear, whether people react context sensitive to the particular interaction situation or just adapt to the format of a profile. Aim of the project is to examine how self-presentation is influenced by the type of community as well as the individual goals of the users. The project strives to develop principles for profile design that support the essential interactions between members to keep the community on the right track.

The doctoral project is part of the project „Social Interaction in Online Communities”.


  • Wodzicki, K., & Cress, U. (in press). Kommunikation in sozialen Netzwerken. In M. Blanz, A. Florack, & U. Piontkowsk (Eds.),Kommunikationswissenschaften. Eine Einführung für Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaftler. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
  • Schwämmlein, E., & Wodzicki, K. (2012). What to tell about me? Self-presentation in online communities. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication., 17 (4), 387-407. 
  • Wodzicki, K., Schwämmlein, E., & Moskaliuk, J. (2012). "Actually, I wanted to learn": Study-related knowledge exchange on social networking sites. The Internet and Higher Education, 15 (1), 9-14.
  • Wodzicki, K., Schwämmlein, E., & Cress, U. (2009). How to Get Proper Profiles? Psychological Perspective on Social Networking Sites. In U. Cress, V. Dimitrova, & M. Specht (Eds.), Learning in the Synergy of Multiple Disciplines, Proceedings of the EC-TEL 2009 (LNCS Vol. 5794, pp. 338-343). Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.