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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers how people create their online selves. It outlines how an online “self” could be an extension or replication of the offline self, but equally how an individual may create different versions of self online. It considers the online world as a heterogeneous environment that requires the involuntary creation of an online self in order to achieve functional goals online (e.g. online banking) while enabling flexible, voluntary self-creation that allows people to explore and manipulate their online self based on behavioral goals. In doing so, it explores how people make use of available technology, images, video, and text to create cues that are used offline to perceive and interpret others’ behavior to allow online interactions that mimic offline interpersonal relationships. The chapter presents a number of theories that have been pivotal in shaping understanding the online self, as well as the main personal features of online self-creation. The last section of this chapter considers why online self-creation may not always be functional or healthy.

Keywords: self-creation, social norms, morals, self-concept, social information processing, social cues, self-presentation, self-discrepancy, hyperpersonal communication, uses and gratification

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