Date of Award

Spring 4-2022

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Communication and Digital Studies

Department Chair or Program Director

Anand Rao

First Advisor

Anand Rao

Major or Concentration

Communication and Digital Studies


The world has become integrated with technology at a rapid rate. The rhetoric of online platforms, due to technology integration, allows people to connect, converse, and meet others who have common character traits. Eyman (2015) defines rhetoric as an action that intends to persuade and form meaning. These platforms are referred to as "social media," which are online networks made by people who use rhetoric to form, confirm, and reinforce the connections of platform users with common character traits: Hobbies, thoughts, race, gender, or religion. These common character traits make up one's social identity. This study details the findings of an extensive literature review with data used from journals, articles, dissertations, and abstracts from the University of Mary Washington library database; to identify how social media's rhetoric shapes social identity through the formation of online groups and reveal how algorithms aid in the confirmation and reinforcement of social identity. This study also uses critical discourse analysis to compare different social groups with similar social identities, illustrating how social media's rhetoric forms, confirms, and reinforces social identity and provides insight into algorithm’s role throughout it all.