From Freeform to Templates

The evolution of self-presentation in Cyberia

Authored by: Hope Jensen Schau , Mary C. Gilly

The Routledge Companion to Digital Consumption

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415679923
eBook ISBN: 9780203105306
Adobe ISBN: 9781136253379


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This chapter examines digital self-presentation as it has evolved from thefirst personal homepages, which we redependent on programming skills and imagination. There were not emplates, no norms and no rules in early Cyberia. As templates evolved for creating personal websites, the barriers to participation lowered. We argue that the emergence of elaborate templates and increased scripting encourage less technologically savvy authors to join in digital self-presentation. Further, the software applications that rely most heavily on the corporeal self have enjoyed the largest participation growth.We discuss how digital self-presentation has changed with the development of more user-friendly sites. Also, we take a case study approach and consider three consumers’ personal websites as they migrated from early personal websites to more constrained templates.

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