Distributed Persona

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In The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Sociologist Erving Goffman seminal work on human relations, he put forth the idea that each person has different personas based on the situation and company they are in.[1] A fragmented, or distributed self is a term used to describe a self spread across many social, physiological, and physical channels. One aspect of a person may be present in one place, and another aspect elsewhere.

In the same way, digital space affords the individual multiple identities and containers for different parts of the self or social roles. Taken together, one's distributed persona represents different aspects of the self for different parties. One's roles on each site may differ depending on the shape of the site. One may be professional on a networking site and informal on another.


  1. Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Doubleday Anchor Books. 1956.