Identity in 10,000 Pixels: LiveJournal Userpics and Fractured Selves in Web 2.0

Main Article Content

B. Grantham Aldred


In the virtual world of Web 2.0, what is the “self”?  How do people create a tangible image of self that is linked to user generated-content when limited to a static series of avatars, and how does this inform our understanding of critical questions about identity and representation online?  Using semiotics, psychoanalysis, and folklore, this article examines userpics in the world of LiveJournal, and analyzes how a group of users negotiate their identity with repertoires of 100 x 100 userpics. Drawing on research among LiveJournal users, the article presents a new view on the fractured nature of identity, exploring the epistemic nature of the avatar/self.

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How to Cite
Aldred, B. G. (2010). Identity in 10,000 Pixels: LiveJournal Userpics and Fractured Selves in Web 2.0. New Directions in Folklore, 8(1/2), 6-35. Retrieved from //
Author Biography

B. Grantham Aldred, Kendall College

Benjamin Grantham Aldred received his PhD in Folklore and American Studies from Indiana University Bloomington in 2009.  His dissertation work focused on the performance of history in Salem, Massachusetts and the relation between a multi-vocal historical consensus and worldview.  He currently teaches Humanities and Social Sciences at Kendall College in Chicago and does research on new media and community, emergent forms of digital folklore and American worldview in the mass media.  In his spare time he enjoys baking bread and taking in Chicago's theater scene.