“The @Adderall_RX Girl”: Pharmaceutical self-branding and identity in social media

Medical anthropology fascinates me. I hope to do more work in this space in the near future. I think that health, wellness, and the treatment of disease merits significant ethnographic investigations because often the person in the think of it is not even aware of the machinery of the health industry the drives what treatment they are on and how it affects their lives. Brand name medications are of particular interest as they are truly entering mythical status such as the xanex, oxy, and loritabs of the world. “I just pop a xany and it all becomes so much more manageable…”

Ethnography Matters

Editor’s Note:  Tazin Karim (@PharmaCulture) is a medical anthropologist who studies pharmaceutical culture in the US and contexts of prescription stimulant use.  She is also active in the Digital Humanities and Social Sciences. In this post for our Virtual Identity edition, Taz examines the ways in which people use Twitter to construct virtual identities centered on the brand name stimulant Adderall.


In today’s digital world, choosing the right Twitter username is an important decision. It’s the first thing people notice and immediately signals to a potential follower who you are and why they should be interested in what you have to say. Although many stick to their given names, others use the opportunity to highlight their best qualities and brand themselves as an expert academic, baseball fanatic, or mother of the year. So when I found out there were over a hundred people on Twitter…

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