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Chase Fratto

Comm Matters

Communication Research and Analysis (Essay)

In this research and analysis application, I will be focusing on the
Development of Personal Identity and how people communicate their
identity to others. I will be discussing theories and concepts, along with
providing personal examples.
We define identity as the person we think we are and communicate to
Identity can be seen as the view of ourselves, identity is our face, ego,
and the image we present of ourselves to the world. Human nature has a
correlation between identity, this can be viewed that our identity comes from
genetics, family lines, and the legacy one wishes to leave behind.
Identity can be viewed from the Communication theory. The four
components of the communication theory are the personal frame, enactment
of the communication frame, relationship frame, and communal frame. I will
elaborate further on each frame, personal frame, is how our identity is
viewed within oneself. Enactment of the communication frame is how our
identity is portrayed to others through messages. Relationship frame is how
our identity evolves through engaging in a relationship. The final component
is the communal frame, how one identifies with oneself based on their

community or group they are interacting with (communication in

relationships, third edition).
The social identity theory suggests that our identity is developed
through our affiliations. This concept appeals to me regarding my affiliations,
my identity is largely determined by the organizations I chose to associate
The theory recognizes a key principle being that ones identity is
categorized by their membership values, personal interest, and appearance.
I am a member of a social fraternity on campus and the social identity theory
was very relatable to me.
Many members in the social fraternity I am affiliated with have similar
interest, such as music, clothing, beliefs and appearance to the general
The theory also mentions habits that the members participate in, I
would link these habits to our fraternities ritual and our links between signs,
symbols and objects etc. It is common to find many members in my
fraternity with matching items or tattoos that have a significant meaning
related to our values, that link the members together.
The social identity theory to me seems to be the most accurate and
influential when it comes to one constructing their personal identity.
The social identity theory seems to focus a large amount of ones
identity on the particular affiliation, they are involved in. My argument would

be that many people are affiliated with more than one group, where they can
form more than one characteristic or trait of the group.
Being involved in a fairly large group, I see many similar traits and
conformity but I also see a push-back. There is a push-back from many
members of our group to be different or stray away from the typical norm
of our organization. I believe people do conform and have their identity
represented by their affiliation, but not to the degree that the authors
I would like to see how the social identity theory is represented in
different age groups. I believe the theory to be very accurate in postadolescence, such as middle school, high school, college and early on in
ones career life.
However how is it relevant in ones elderly years, do people form their
identity by the affiliations they have the older they get or are they already
set in their ways with an established identity?
Part II
The second part of my analysis addresses a relationship that I have
with a colleague of mine who I met in the Fall of 2013. My colleague's name
has been changed for privacy purposes. The first interaction with Stephen
came when I was pledging a fraternity on campus. Stephen was a handsome
guy, he spent a good amount of his time to maintain his physique and
professional appearance.

The first time I met him was during a pledge meeting. Stephen was
the director at the time and came to speak to our new member class
regarding our financial obligation we had committed to and how we would go
about paying it. My first thoughts when I heard him speak were wow I am
going to stay out of that kids way and do my best to be unrecognized by him
throughout my pledge process.
As the pledge process continued, Stephen began inviting me into his
friend circle within the fraternity. Naturally I was excited that an older
member of the house wanted me to hang out with the most tenured
members. Stephen would constantly boast about his accomplishments on
campus and leadership positions that he had taken on (which were quite
impressive). Stephen also admired himself about his strength in the weight
room and most of all how attracted members of our sororities on campus
were to him. Stephen was constantly crediting himself to the recent success
our fraternity was having on campus. Stephen appeared to be a gift to our
chapter, but as time continued things began to change. Constantly I would
hear snickering comments about Stephens self-absorbed behavior. My initial
thought was many of the members were envious of Stephens
As my time in the fraternity grew, I became a lower executive
member in the house eventually ascending into the presidential role. The
longer I spent my time in leadership roles in the fraternity, Stephen was
constantly comparing my tenure to his, my accomplishments to his. This

caused me to develop anger towards Stephen, I couldnt understand why he

didnt recognize that I was serving in the executive role because I viewed
myself as responsible and genuinely enjoyed giving back to the fraternity
that has made my college experience so great. Stephens constant
comparison irritated me. My fear was that members of the chapter would
begin to draw comparisons between us, I needed to create separation and do
it fast.
The concept that I am applying is The Image: Creating an Identity
(communication in relationships, third edition).
The concept explains how we are known as our identity. The idea is
that we create our identity through our social interactions, what we wear,
what we say and, overall our images constituting our reality. In Stephens
case, he wanted his perception to be his reality.
The idea is that our generation is producing narcissistic behaviors,
many of which Stephen has for himself, believing that he is special and
more capable of completing a task. Showing arrogant, behaviors or attitudes.
Requires excessive admiration, Has a grandiose sense of self-importance
(The 48 laws of power).
Before Stephen and I was in preparation for a campus function where
both he and I were presenting. Stephen came into my room several times,
frantically going through my closet trying to find an outfit to wear to the
function. Stephen changed his outfit a total of five times. During this period,
Stephen continued asking me questions such as do you think people will

know what position I hold, do you think people know the power I have with
my vote? As Stephen continued to say these things I snapped. The constant
I and me statements had taken its toll on me, I also told him that people in
the chapter are not looking to be impressed by you.
It was clear I was delivering a hit to Stephens confidence even further.
At this time, I decided that I would ask him what his problem was and why
every action and statement he made was used as an alpha move to establish
superiority over students around campus. Stephen stared at me, I thought he
was going to lash out, and I was preparing for a physical altercation. He then
looked at me and said, its because I am insecure. My first thought was
well no kidding. Then I thought if this kid with such a superiority complex
was willing to admit he is insecure, I better listen up.
Stephen explained how he grew up very poor, he didnt have many
friends in school through his childhood, and he was the first in his family to
go to college.
Stephen was simply trying to communicate and Create an Identity. He
viewed college as a time to recreate himself, to appear to people as a role
model, a figure of authority. Stephens self-absorbed behavior has created
many hardships for him during his time in college. He portrays an attitude of
negligence, but it truly bothers him, from what he has told me.
The implications of his behavior have caused Stephen to go through
many friend groups through his time in college. Many people have been

impressed by his accomplishments, quickly to try to separate themselves so

they are not associated with his me and I mentality.
My perspective, however, has changed towards Stephen. My views
changed from admiring him, to being incredibly frustrated with him, to
understanding his behavior and why he says and does the things he does. He
simply has insecurities, as we all do, but he wants to create an identity that
is simply hard to maintain and I sympathize with him.

Guerrero, L., & Andersen, P. (2007). Close encounters: Communication in relationships (2nd
ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Wood, J. (1994). Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture. Belmont, Calif.:
Wadsworth Pub.
Wood, J. (2014). Communication mosaics: An introduction to the field of communication (7th
ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.