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Identity Vs Personal Branding

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Identity can be defined as, the characteristics that defines someone, for example a person’s name is a form of identity. Identity can refer to one’s personal identity as an individual, or one’s social identity as a member of a group (Marwick 2013, p. 355). Identity changes for each individual, as people present themselves differently based on context and audience. For example, one’s identity may be different to when they are around family, compared to when they are around friends.

Personal branding can be defined as “the process by which an individual actively tries to manage others’ impressions of their skills, abilities and experiences… the practice of marketing oneself to society” (Johnson, 2017, pp. 20-21). The concept of personal branding can also be identified as “storying the self”, (Potter 2012, p.39). An example of effective personal branding is Oprah Winfrey. Nowadays there is substantial value in the name Oprah, and she has managed this by being consistent and staying true to her intentions. In contrast, there are also times when personal branding goes completely wrong. Bill Cosby is an example of a personal brand that tarnished. Bill Cosby’s brand was one that was seen as being family-orientated, but when rumours that Cosby had assaulted women came to light, and when numerous women made certain accusations, Cosby’s personal brand was destroyed. Resulting in the loss of TV contracts, public honours, and his entire future as an entertainer.

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Identity through social media sites is frequently communicated through customization. Online profiles can be expressed through “a variety of digital tokens, such as pictures, avatars, nicknames to represent themselves”, (Marwick 2013, p. 358). Social media sites have enabled the social construction of identity to become more visual and self-established. Because of social media sites, people are able to be selective as to what characteristics of themselves they want to display online. Your online identity is determined by what you post, who you follow, what you tweet, what you love-heart react etc.

Context Collapse is defined as a term that relates to the lack of context on social media. A performance that is collectively shameful “becomes a permanent and public record”, when it takes place on social media platforms, (Athique 2013, p.104).

It is always of great importance to remind yourself that everything posted is public, know your privacy settings, know your audience and know your boundaries. From the examples used throughout this learning journal, it is exceedingly easy for one’s online persona to become troublesome, due to the unclear distinction of online and offline identities.


  1. Athique, A., 2013, Digital Media and Society: An Introduction. Cambridge: Polity, Cambridge.
  2. Black Enterprise 2019, Oprah Winfrey has the 2020 Vision for your Best Life, viewed 31 October,
  3. James, G 2018, Top 9 Personal Branding Disasters of 2014, viewed 31 October,
  4. Influencer Marketing Hub 2018, 12 Incredible Personal Branding Examples that will Inspire you to Build your Own, viewed 31 October,
  5. Johnson, K.M., 2017, ‘The Importance of Personal Branding in Social Media: Educating Students to Create and Manage their Personal Brand, International Journal of Education and Social Science, Vol. 4 (1), pp. 21-27.
  6. Marwick, A., 2013, ‘Online Identity’, in J. Hartley, J. Burgess & A. Bruns (Eds.), A Companion to New Media Dynamics, Wiley- Blackwell, West Sussex, pp. 15-32.
  7. Magrath, M 2019, Substantial Support from State Attorneys General on Identity Theft Rules, viewed 31 October,
  8. Oxford English Dictionary 2019, Oxford English Dictionary, viewed 31 October,
  9. Parade 2014, 7 Things you never knew about Bill Cosby, viewed 31 October,
  10. Potter, L., 2012, Digital Media and Learner Identity, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

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Identity Vs Personal Branding. (2021, September 02). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from
“Identity Vs Personal Branding.” Edubirdie, 02 Sept. 2021,
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