Profile Update: The Effects of Identity Disclosure on Network Connections and Language

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Our social identities determine how we interact and engage with the world surrounding us. In online settings, individuals can make these identities explicit by including them in their public biography, possibly signaling a change to what is important to them and how they should be viewed. Here, we perform the first large-scale study on Twitter that examines behavioral changes following identity signal addition on Twitter profiles. Combining social networks with NLP and quasi-experimental analyses, we discover that after disclosing an identity on their profiles, users (1) generate more tweets containing language that aligns with their identity and (2) connect more to same-identity users. We also examine whether adding an identity signal increases the number of offensive replies and find that (3) the combined effect of disclosing identity via both tweets and profiles is associated with a reduced number of offensive replies from others.

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— Minje Choi, Daniel Romero, David Jurgens