Cyberself: The Dynamics of Self in Online Chat
Expanding computer network technologies have emerged as a popular communication channel for millions of people. Contemporary literature abounds with ideologically biased accounts of on-line interaction that hinder the emergence of a coherent analytical framework. Scholarly work on computer-mediated communicative play remains underdeveloped. Through an empirically grounded theoretical orientation, this study aims to identify and illustrate processes and elements central to the emergence of self in on-line chat environments. By use of an e-mail survey, participant observation, content analysis, and open-ended interviews, the social nature of on-line interaction is illustrated and identified as significantly more than the technological sum of the medium. Findings indicate that through on-line chat-interaction a ''cyberself'' emerges, rooted in a unique form of communication that is disembodied, dislocated, anonymous, multiple-simultaneous, and faceless. Each of these elements introduces new possibilities to the dramatic nature of on-line interaction, which represents a kind of communication ''self-game'' where participants enact a multiplicity of selves.
Sociology and Corrections
The Information Society: An International Journal
Dennis Waskul and Mark Douglass. 1997. "Cyberself: The Dynamics of Self in Online Chat." The Information Society: An International Journal, 13 (4): 375-397.
Publisher's Copyright and Source
Copyright © 1997 Taylor & Francis Group. Article published by Taylor & Francis Group in The Information Society: An International Journal, volume 13, issue number 4, 1997, pages 375-397. Available online on July 29, 2006: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/019722497129070