Online self-presentation of Malaysian women: a Facebook case study of university students

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Meriem Narimane Noumeur


Social networking websites play an important role in our lives. These websites provide several services that allow users to enjoy their time in cyberspace by providing them space to represent their personalities in the virtual world. Using Goffman’s dramaturgical theory, this study aims to identify the way Malaysian women represent themselves, by depicting and managing their virtual identities through Facebook while exploring the way they construct their identities and realize their online presence. A convenience sampling survey was used to collect data through Facebook. A total of 133 female students from a Malaysian university were involved in the study on their self-representations (online and offline); highlighting the way they presented their identities online and suggesting whether their offline influenced the virtual identities. It also explored the relationship between offline and online self-representation among the students. The findings showed a changing self-representation of the Malaysian women based on their utilization of the different Facebook services. The concept of “I” and “you” on the front and backstage is invoked as a theoretical form to understand how representation is made among the close and distant others.  The findings showed a significant effect of the offline feelings on the Online self-representation and revealed a strong relationship between the offline and online presence. It indicated the difficulty of separation between virtual and real identity.



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