Co-Constructing Virtual Identities: Insights from Linguistic Analysis


This article critically examines the co-construction of personae for fictional characters in virtual environments. Expanding upon Gee’s (2003) tripartite notion of identity in virtual worlds, this paper focuses on how virtual identities are created, and who does the creating. Using sociolinguistic methodology, I show how alterations in behavior based on avatar characteristics (The Proteus Effect: Yee and Bailenson 20007) can be used as a window into the virtual identity creation process. Potential contributions to virtual identity from three sources are analyzed: the community, the creators of the virtual environment, and influences from the non-virtual world, concluding that community created knowledge seems to play the most significant role in virtual identity construction.