, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 99-120

“It's Difficult to Hide It”: The Presentation of Self on Internet Home Pages

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This paper explores identity and interaction with reference to Internet home pages. All home pages reveal identity, whether or not that is the intention of their authors. Identity statements can take categorical, relational, or narrative forms. A survey of home page owners reveals that some home pages are created to maintain relationships formed apart from the Internet (extrinsic pages) and some are created to contact the denizens of the Internet (intrinsic pages). The different motives for creation do not affect home page design and contents, but do relate to differences in overall Internet use and in authors' conceptualizations of the Internet. Both intrinsic and extrinsic pages are analyzed in light of charges that the Internet self is postmodern, transitory, deceptive, and fragmented. The charge of postmodernity is found to be overstated, however, because while the Internet shapes identity statements, it does not determine their form or usage.