Charles Cheung, Identity Construction and Self-Presentation on Personal Homepages: emancipatory potentials and reality constrains, edited by Gauntlett, D& Horsley, R in Web Studies Chapter 4, London: Arnold, (2004), pp. 53-68, ISBN: 9780340814727
In the contemporary age of mass media especially in the age of web 2.0, the approaches to self-presentation have been tightly connected to the internet to some extent. As the emergence of personal homepages on the internet, this has been regarded as a newly-born and popular access to express individuals’ self-identities, or even reconstruct their identities. For that individuals could produce any content for whether expressing themselves or sharing their hobbies and experiences. However, there is an ambiguous function of the personal homepages on shaping individuals’ identity. Charles Cheung’s essay in 2004 about the identity construction and self-presentation on personal homepages is an appropriate example of showing the analysis of both the emancipatory potential and reality constrains of the personal homepage.
As the title indicates, this essay is mainly arguing about the relationship between the personal homepages on the internet and individuals’ self-identity construction. This argument is out-linked by Barney and Darin in the same year in the book Network Society. In the fifth chapter, Barney and Darin had come out the similar question of how the personal identity will be built surrounding the network society. This was also linked to The Power of Identity written by Castells in 1997, in which he analysed several kinds of identities with the rise of the network society named legitimizing identity, resistant identity and project identity. This essay written by Charles Cheung and edited by Gauntlett and Horsley in the book Web Studies mainly contains two parts of arguments: one of the core themes is the emancipatory potential of personal homepage and the other one is the restriction of the personal homepages on self-presentation and identity construction. Meanwhile, there could be a range of factors of shaping people creating their personal homepage with ‘rich content’, for instance, the ability to access the internet and the ideology types of the users.
For the very first argument, the author described the personal homepage as an ‘emancipatory media genre’, and mainly analysed this character in basically two perspectives. The first one is the advantages of self-presentation on personal homepage compared to face-to-face interaction in daily lives. As what Charles Cheung has mentioned in his essay, normally face-to-face interaction was gone through the unconscious manner so that people could have behave with unintentional misrepresentation, which could make people experience embarrassment and failure to self-presentation. However, online personal homepage can prevent individuals from the problems of normal interaction such as how to express themselves in specific social context and how well can...