In natural communication, people are able to present and perceive social cues through many channels in order to aid the processes of identity formation and impression management. Many online social environments are poorly equipped for such exchanges, and offer few channels of expression to inform these social processes. The focus of this thesis is to gain an understanding of the relationship between online social experience, identity, reputation and representation. This research aims towards the successful design of online social environments that enable identity formation and impression management, and support rich social interaction amongst users. This thesis included a survey that details how participants present themselves and perceive others in online environments. The result of this research was the design of ReciproCity, an abstract graphical chat prototype that provides persistent reputation cues that are socially constructed and accrued over time. The design of ReciproCity was evaluated through a user study.
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