Novice Users’ Self-Presentation Strategies in Second Life: A Case Study

By Mark Mabrito.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 26, 2014 $US5.00

This research project asked students, new to the virtual world of Second Life, to join and create an avatar inworld. During a two-week orientation to Second Life, students recorded changes they made to their avatars, kept a photographic record of the changes, and then provided comments for each change. Students also completed a brief survey after the two-week session. Study found that students made ongoing changes to their avatars’ images throughout the orientation and viewed their avatars as having not just physical characteristics but personality traits as well; the majority of male students tended to view their avatars as separate entities from their real-life selves while the majority of female students focused on making their avatars direct representations of themselves. The follow-up survey revealed that both male and female students perceived their avatars differently at the conclusion of the study than they did while constructing them.

Keywords: Media, Internet, Avatar Image, Virtual Worlds, Second Life

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2014, pp.17-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 26, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 336.504KB)).

Dr. Mark Mabrito

Associate Professor of English, English Department, Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN, USA

Mark Mabrito is an associate professor of English at Purdue University Calumet since 1989, where he has taught courses in new media, professional writing, and web design. His research interests include new media, immersive virtual environments, workplace writing, online pedagogy, and online communication.