Impression management and identity online

Andrea Chester and Di Bretherton

in Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199561803
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743771 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Impression management and identity online

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  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology


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Online impressions ‘need not in any way correspond to a person's real life identity; people can make and remake themselves, choosing their gender and the details of their online presentation’. This comment came to represent the way the Internet was portrayed both in the popular media and within academic writing in the 1990s. Online communication was seen to hold the potential for unique opportunities to present the self: no longer constrained by corporeal reality, users could invent and reinvent themselves. They could manage impressions in ways never before possible. The Internet was described as the quintessential playground for postmodern plurality, fragmentation, and contextual construction of self. This article examines the process of impression management online and considers whether these conceptualizations of identity experimentation still accurately describe ‘life on the screen’.

Keywords: online impressions; online identity; Internet; online communication; identity experimentation

Article.  8182 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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