Self without body: Texual self-representation in an electronic community

Mark Giese

Abstract


This paper examines how a textual mode of communication has combined with the new technologies of computer-mediated communication (cmc) to produce interesting new opportunities for social interaction and presentation of self. These opportunities are in turn used in ways that promote the process of community in a text-based electronic environment. This paper first examines some of the common textual adaptations this electronic communications environment engenders. It then examines how one Internet newsgroup, alt.cyberpunk, developed a cooperative narrative in which participants made presentations of self that, in other venues, might be considered "fictional" but must be accepted at face value in a way similar to the manner in which presentations of self are accepted within physical environments. The paper concludes that these new opportunities for self-presentation are engendered by the tightened feedback loop that cmc technologies bring to a textual mode of communication. "Real-time" textual interaction engenders a novel new social environment.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v3i4.587



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