University of Cambridge > > Cambridge Linguistics Forum > Identity construction and self-presentation on WhatsApp profile statuses: What does our status say about us?

Identity construction and self-presentation on WhatsApp profile statuses: What does our status say about us?

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  • UserCarmen Maíz Arévalo (Universidad Complutense Madrid)
  • ClockThursday 03 June 2021, 16:30-18:00
  • HouseOnline.

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Self-presentation has been defined as «the process through which individuals communicate an image of themselves to others» (Yang and Brown, 2016: 404). In ordinary terms, self-presentation is related to the impression we make on others when communicating with them, and the image they will construct of ourselves (Goffman, 1959). Self-presentation has been widely studied both in face-to-face communication and online. Most online research, however, has focused on social network sites, blogs, chatrooms, etc. while less attention has been paid to other online means of communication such as WhatsApp, despite its pervasiveness. Based on previous research (Maíz-Arévalo, 2018; 2021a; 2021b), the aim of this talk is to analyse self-presentation on WhatsApp statuses by Spanish users, by focusing on the different strategies users employ and their connection to age and gender. To this purpose, a corpus of 206 WhatsApp statuses in Spanish was analysed following both a quantitative and qualitative methodology. Results shows the existence of recurrent patterns connected to these sociological variables, which help contribute to the users’ identity construction as members of different groups to different degrees of success.


Goffman, Erving. 1959 (2002). The presentation of self in everyday life. London: Penguin.

Maíz-Arévalo, C. 2018. “Emotional self-presentation on WhatsApp: Analysis of the profile status.” Russian Journal of Linguistics 22 (1), 144-160.

Maíz-Arévalo, C. 2021. “When humour backfires: How do WhatsApp users respond to humorous profile statuses as a self-presentation strategy?” Internet Pragmatics, 4(1), 111-130.

Maíz-Arévalo, C. (2021). Humour and self-presentation on WhatsApp profile status. In Chaoqun Xie, Francisco Yus and Hartmut Haberland (Eds.), Approaches to Internet Pragmatics: Theory and practice. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 175-205.

Yang, Chia-chen, and B. Bradford Brown. 2016. “Online Self-Presentation on Facebook and Self-Development during the College Transition.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 45(2): 402–416.

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