Five Dimensions of Online Persona
Before Facebook, Twitter, and most of the digital media platforms that now form routine parts of our online lives, Jay Bolter (2000) anticipated that online activities would reshape how we understand and produce identity: a ‘networked self’, he noted, ‘is displacing Cartesian printed self as a cultural paradigm’ (2000, p. 26). The twenty-first century has not only produced a proliferation and mass popularisation of platforms for the production of public digital identities, but also an explosion of scholarship investigating the relationship between such identities and technology. These approaches have mainly focussed on the relations between humans and their networks of other human connections, often neglecting the broader implications of what personas are and might be, and ignoring the rise of the non-human as part of social networks. In this introductory essay, we seek to both trace the work done so far to explore subjectivity and the public presentation of the self via networked technologies, and contribute to these expanding accounts by providing a brief overview of what we consider to be five important dimensions of an online persona. In the following, we identify and explicate the five dimensions of persona as public, mediatised, performative, collective and having intentional value and, while we acknowledge that these dimensions are not exhaustive or complete, they are certainly primary.
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