28.1 | Paul John Eakin

Self and Self-Representation Online and Off


Has the Internet produced new forms of self-expression and even new kinds of selves? It has certainly promoted new forms of self-narration, notably brief, collective, and ephemeral. Identity formation, however, is more resistant to change; identity work proves to be not much different online than off because cultural imperatives for identity coherence operate equally in both environments. Narrative identity is the signature of that coherence. A deeply temporal and versatile technology, narrative is capable of contracting to satisfy daily digital interventions and of expanding to measure the life course that results from increased longevity.