Monitoring Our Online Representations -- Avatars, the Digital Mirror

Lynn A. Rampoldi-Hnilo

Avatars are graphical online images that individuals create to represent themselves in virtual social interactions. Research suggests that individuals differentially monitor their offline self-presentations (Snyder, 1974, 1979), with some using external cues to create self-presentations (high self-monitors) and others integrating their own internal aspects (low self-monitors). This study was designed to test these concepts with avatars as the new self-presentation form. How does self-monitoring impact one’s online selfpresentation? Findings suggest that individuals did not differ their types of portrayal, demographics, or presentation characteristics of their avatars across situations by selfmonitoring dimensions. For the most part, there were few findings related specifically to the monitoring dimensions: self-presentation, sensitivity to expressive behaviors, otherdirectedness and social comparison.


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