for those of us who spend a lot of time online, whether by choice or by necessity, there’s a dual existence that’s created.
think about it for a moment, is the ‘you’ in your emails, in your web postings, really you?
Or is it another you?
I’ve encountered people who wrote long voluminous postings on the net, who go into IRC and type much faster than me (and trust me i type pretty fast) and they’re like the equivalent of a verbal machine gun, firing off opinions and repartees faster than you can say ‘i told you so’.
And yet, at our real world meet ups, you go there and ask, hey, where’s that girl with the machine gun mouth. and someone points to a meek little girl in the corner. standing all alone. staring at her hands or her mobile phone.
you go up to her, chatting up a conversation.
‘hi, nice to finally meet you in person’
‘hey, what’ve you been up to?’
‘you were writing about wakeboarding and swallowing lots of sea water. ha ha ha. are you still doing it? it sounds quite intense’
‘oh. ok. how was your day?’
almost every question is met with a monosyllabic answer.
gee. and i’m left wondering if this is the person whose online personality fills up every virtual rooms she ‘walks’ into.
sociologists say that introverted individuals find the internet liberating. in there they’re the life of the party. they’re the ‘party girl’ or ‘party boy’ of every group chat. they’re the ones that dominate every online discussion, they must have the last word.
but offline, it’s a whole different story.
perhaps it’s something to do with the impersonality of the internet. where you can be anyone you want to be, to adopt an online persona, take up the moniker, Mistress Kat, or Love Goddess and play up that role. while in real life, they might be Mary the Librarian, or Tom the Gardener.
Online can be liberating, but for some who spend almost every waking hour outside of work being ‘online, all the time’. the intangible internet can be yet another illusory world, providing a respite from the rigours of daily life.