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Philosophy Today

Volume 65, Issue 3, Summer 2021

Special Topic: Technology and Society

Franco FaccenniniOrcid-ID
Pages 599-617

Digital Avatars
Thinking about Personal Identity in Social Media

Ever since Facebook appeared circa 2004, social network sites (SNS) have gained more and more presence and importance in our daily lives. At the very core of SNS lies the necessity to create a profile; this profile becomes our digital persona or our digital avatar. Since what we do online matters and ever increasingly affects the offline world, our online identity becomes in turn increasingly important. But how does our personal identity—how do we—relate to our digital avatars? This paper explores the possible form and extent of the connection in between both identities. For this purpose, I propose to think about personal identity in terms of a narrative theory of the self, as well as in a relational manner through the concept of recognition. Employing this framework I intend to pinpoint the elements of our digital avatars, and the SNS dynamics as a whole, that can be related to the process of becoming who we are.

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