The Decline of pseudonymity

Adam W. Ruch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The trajectory of identity theory has seen the once solid, embodied notion become decentred and distributed across multiple ‘windows’ of performance. From the exploration of multiple selves in the MUDs in the 1990s to World of Warcraft, SecondLife and Facebook, contemporary identity management has continued to change. The specific functional differences between the Facebook network, WoW and the now out-dated MUD experience lead to a very different experience of identity. Social networking tools take a very different path towards identity, one of full-disclosure, grounded in corporeal reality rather than the imagined or psychological self. Facebook brings together communities that were once discreet, presenting the same image of the individual to disparate audiences, and undermining the distributed-self phenomenon of the earlier technologies. The disconnection from corporeal reality that the MUD created a safe area of free play. WoW limits that freedom to menu selection. Both of these new kinds of technologies provide different sets of affordances, and so demand that we handle our shards of personality differently. We must be more conscious of who knows what about each of us.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPosthumanity
Subtitle of host publicationmerger and embodiment
EditorsAdam W. Ruch, Ewan Kirkland
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
ISBN (Print)9781848880184
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventGlobal Conference on Visions of Humanity in Cyberculture, Cyberspace and Science Fiction (4th : 2009) - Oxford, UK
Duration: 6 Jul 20098 Jul 2009


ConferenceGlobal Conference on Visions of Humanity in Cyberculture, Cyberspace and Science Fiction (4th : 2009)
CityOxford, UK


  • identity
  • Facebook
  • World of Warcraft
  • SecondLife
  • social networking
  • online gaming


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