This paper presents an exemplification and discussion of the contemporaneity of Erving Goffman’s work and of its applicability to the analysis of identity and presentation of self in the blogging and Second Life (SL) contexts.
An analysis of online identity and interaction practices in 10 different cases of bloggers and SL inhabitants and of their online spaces is presented in terms of:
- expressions given;
- embellishment as a minor form of persona adoption;
- dividing the self;
- conforming and ‘fitting in’; and
- masking, anonymity and pseudonimity.
This emphasises the key premise in Goffman’s work that, when in ‘front stage’, people deliberately chose to project a given identity.
It is concluded that Goffman’s original framework is of great usefulness as an explanatory framework for understanding identity through interaction and the presentation of self in the online world.
Equally, the online environment, with its enhanced potential for editing the self, can offer opportunities to contribute to the further development of the Goffman framework.