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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Attitudes Towards Alternative Identities in Social Networking Sites

P. 622-634.
Voiskounsky A. E., Fedunina N., Evdokimenko A., Smyslova O.

Participants of social networks experience a temptation to build multiple profiles/identities which are homomorphous (sometimes isomorphic, often contradictive) to their real-life identities. While this experience may be viewed as a masquerade, it’s hard to deny psychological grounds of possessing multiple online identities. Every time a social networker owns two or more profiles, they are referred to as alternative identities, irrespective of which is ‘real’. Participants: 42 social networkers 15 to 25 years old, half of them females. Each was presented an Identity Dilemma, which involves issues of online identity and moral development. The dilemma was worked out as a part of the Good Play Project (Harvard Graduate School of Education), used by permission from the developers. Semi-structured interviewing procedure included putting selected questions to the participants while discussing the dilemma issues. By classification of interview narratives the following attitudes were selected, referring to alternative identities: affective, cognitive, and behavioral. Dispersion analysis and content analysis were performed to handle the data. Differences in attitudes, dependent on age, gender and identity parameters are described.