/Whois? Identity: collectivity and the self in IRC

Alzola Romero, Aaron (2003). /Whois? Identity: collectivity and the self in IRC. PsychNology Journal, 1(2) pp. 87–130.

URL: http://www.psychnology.org/pnj1(2)_body_in_cybersp...

Abstract

Cyberspace challenges our traditional cultural understandings of notions as basic as time, space, and—more importantly—identity. With the advent and growth of electronic communication, it is becoming increasingly necessary to ask ourselves who we actually are and who we are interacting with when we are on-line. This article focuses on a case-study from the IRC chat room #rudos (Undernet), and poses the question of whether cyberspace is quite simply a powerful means of reaffirming pre-established Physical-Reality identities, or, on the contrary, a medium that allows for the creation of Virtual-Reality personae. Drawing on examples from casual conversations extracted from our emic ethnographic approach, the project soon revealed that the traditional dichotomous separation between reality and virtuality is not quite as clear-cut as many would have originally assumed.

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