Part of the Volume on Youth, Identity, and Digital Media
This chapter explores why young authors find value in expressing themselves on the Internet. Concentrating on the genres of personal home pages and blogs, in particular, the chapter aims to answer the following questions: What do adolescents see as the rewards of online expression? How do they make choices about the self-presentations they offer? What role do audiences play in their decision-making? How is online expression meaningful, and in what ways is it unfulfilling? Discussion is based in large part on interviews with hundreds of authors ranging in age from 12 to 21 years. The chapter notes how youth authors' sentiments about their online practices reflect their engagement with important developmental tasks associated with adolescence. The goal throughout this chapter is to broaden the terrain of discussion about online youth expression practices so that our public and popular discourse about young people is more meaningful and contextualized.