My final year research examined differences in self presentation online based on sexual orientation, focusing on gay (n=117), lesbian (n=142), bisexual (n=332) and heterosexual (n=198) participants. The helpfulness of the internet as a tool while coming out was also examined.
The Presentation of Online Self scale was used to measure ideal self, multiple selves, a consistent self, and online presentation preference. The internet as a tool while coming out was measured through a 5-point scale and an open-ended question.
Findings indicated that the heterosexual participants were least likely, and the bisexual community most likely to use self-presentation techniques online. Lesbian, gay and bisexual participants used the internet a neutral amount as a resource while coming out, using it as a space to connect with larger communities associated with their sexuality.
The findings of this research are an indication of the importance of online resources and supports for the lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities. The current study also indicates a need for increased research on the bisexual community.