Looking for the I in the Internet: An Autoethnographic Study of the Self and New Media

TITLE: Looking for the I in the Internet: An Autoethnographic Study of the Self and New Media

ABSTRACT

This thesis is about the relationship between identity and new media. Specifically, it is an autoethnographic study on my journey towards self-discovery, and how the internet may be used as a tool in gaining new realizations about myself. This study mainly used George Mead’s theory of the self, wherein it explained how exposure to different environments, such as new media, allows different parts of the self to be revealed. To further support this claim, Erving Goffman’s Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life, and Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham’s Johari window were used to examine how parts of myself are compartmentalized or even unknown. Lastly, Sheldon Stryker, George McCall, J.L. Simmons and Richard Serpe’s Identity Theory, and Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life were used to investigate how these realizations situate themselves in my day-to-day narrative. In this study, I analyzed myself. I wrote a brief history of my life and shared the realizations I’ve discovered throughout my immersion in an anonymous online application. It was in examining my past influences, my current self-concept, and my new realizations that I was able to understand more of who I am and who I wanted to be. By doing this study, I aim to contribute to the knowledge of new media as a tool of self-exploration, especially at a time when the internet is significantly growing, and is being used more frequently by generations both present and yet to come.

Keywords: identity, new media, anonymity, autoethnography

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