Between altruism and narcissism: An action theoretical approach of personal homepages devoted to existential meaning
SourceCommunications, 27, 1, (2002), pp. 103-125
Article / Letter to editor
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This article aims to examine existential meaning constructions from an action theoretical perspective in a specific Internet environment: the personal homepage. Personal homepages are on-line multi-media documents addressing the question Who am I? Authors of personal homepages provide information on both their personal and public identity. These identity constructions sometimes include reflections on the meaning of life. Answers to questions on the meaning of life reflect the way in which individuals assign ultimate meanings to human life, and consist of three key components: orientation (goals and objectives), beliefs, and experience. This paper aims to examine existential meaning constructions from a action theoretical perspective in a specific Internet environment: the personal homepage. Findings are reported of a qualitative content analysis of answers to the meaning of life provided in a sample of 42 personal homepages. We found that most answers to the meaning of life could be interpreted either as divine/religious, experience centered, cosmic, or social utopian. The answers provided on the homepages showed similarities with findings reported in other studies on existential meaning. In addition, we found that this Internet environment offers new venues for expressing orientation (goals and objectives), beliefs, and experience reflecting answers to the meaning of life.
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