Miller Hugh and Mather Russell
The Presentation of Self in WWW Home Pages
Identity is socially mediated (Gilligan, 1982), and much of that mediation is through language (Harre, 1989). It follows that as new social processes and new ways of using language emerge, it may be possible to develop new aspects of identity. It has been suggested, for instance by Gergen (1991, 1992), that the developing communication technologies of the last twenty years have had profound implication for our sense of self.
The World Wide Web is one such new technology, which allows what has been, up till now, an unusual form of communication. Rather than one-to-one or one-to-many, the Web is semi-interactive one-to-the-World communication. It has long been possible for a few individuals to publish advertisements or manifestoes or autobiographies which might be read by large numbers of people, but now anyone with a few megabytes of server space can publish material which might be read by anyone in the world with a browser. This publication is usually mainly one-way, but if the author chooses to put an email address on the page (generally considered good Web practice) most readers can contact the author directly if they wish.