A theory that can be applied for alter accounts is Symbolic Interaction. Symbolic Interaction believed that human beings are best understood in a practical, interactive relation to their environment.

According to the University of Twente, the theory consists of three core principles: meaning, language and thought. These core principles lead to conclusions about the creation of a person’s self and socialization into a larger community (Griffin, 1997).

Meaning states that humans act toward people and things according to the meanings that give to those people or things. Symbolic Interaction holds the principal of meaning to be the central aspect of human behavior. Alter accounts trigger the human behavior of a person because of the different sensual media posted. From a normal human behavior, they start browsing their timeline. They get aroused with the type of media shown in their timeline. Now, the arousal becomes the central aspect of human behavior.

Language gives humans a means by which to negotiate meaning through symbols. The symbols in the alter accounts are the different forms of sensual media. They would not get triggered if they did not post these in their accounts. They are negotiating the arousal in behavior through the sensual media.

Thought modifies each individual’s interpretation of symbols. Thought is a mental conversation that requires different points of view. Interviewing different alter accounts and observing them is enough thought. They have different perspectives and respecting them is a must.

With these three elements the concept of the self can be framed. People use ‘the looking-glass self’: they take the role of the other, imagining how we look to another person. The self is a function of language, without talk there would be no self concept. People are part of a community, where our generalized other is the sum total of responses and expectations that we pick up from the people around us. We naturally give more weight to the views of significant others.


Laura, H. (2011). Social Media; Keeping Us Connected or Escaping Reality?

Retrieved from

Punongbayan, S. (2017, June 10). ROUNTABLE: Alter nation. Retrieved July 10, 2017, from

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University of Twente. (n.d.). Interpersonal Communication and Relations | Symbolic

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Sameer (n.d.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Twitter. Retrieved from

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