Cyber “I”, “you” and “them”

Abstract from Laura Robinson’s The cyberself: the self-ing project goes online, symbolic interaction in the digital age in the journal, New Media & Society

Juxtaposing symbolic interactionist and postmodern interpretations of cyberself-ing, I bring data to bear on the tensions between these two theoretical stances. I argue that postmodernist accounts are no longer tenable; such studies were based on multi-user domains (MUDs), but generalized to cyberspace. I examine the evolving internet population, which has reached a critical mass of the American population, to demonstrate that MUD users no longer constitute the majority of users. After substantiating this shift in the user base, I elucidate evidence that corroborates the countervailing thesis of ‘socialized’ online selves. I argue that using a symbolic interactionist perspective to frame the cyberself-ing project allows us to understand the creation of the cyber ‘I,’‘me,’ and digital ‘generalized other,’ as well as the dynamics of interactional cuing online.

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Filed under Identity, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

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