Your online self.

  spikeychris 12:56 04 Oct 05
Locked

There has been papers written on this subject and countless discussions throughout the Net but last week was the first time I have actually seen it in action. I was working in a school, one of the teachers asked me to fix her roaming profile on the school Intranet, I did – she logged on and went online. Having finished her time online she turned of the monitor but left the machine logged in, on-line. I had to move a few files from the machine, in the process I noticed she was in an online forum. Now, this teacher is very shy – I have been working in the school every Tuesday for 5 weeks and her class leads to the server room so I have seen her work. Timid is not the correct word but it describes her well enough.

However – her online persona is something different altogether, [I wasn’t snooping on her – the forum was open and one or two words caught my attention] She is very opinionated and confident online to the state were I wouldn’t have recognised her. I find it fascinating just how many people have created another version of themselves online.

  €dstowe 13:16 04 Oct 05

This is very common. As there is almost never any person to person contact over chatrooms/forums and whatever the personality taken can be, and very often is, totally different to that shown to the outside world.

This is how eighty year old grannies can come across as steaming sex sirens to fulfil some sort of fantasy of a life wished for but never attained.

This is how fat blokes with beer guts, bad teeth and smelly breath (and feet) can come over as tanned muscle gods.

This is how middle aged men (and women) lure unsuspecting teenagers into situations that they would prefer not to be in.

This is how - - - - -

  Yoda Knight 13:37 04 Oct 05

Is that realy you ???


lol

  Taran 15:04 04 Oct 05

As interesting as the alter-ego mindset of online behaviour can be, there are also cases where people appear more or less as they are without any fuss, pre-amble or attempt to deviate from their natural self.

Yes, I really am this grouchy, blunt and generally bad mannered in real life...

;o)

  Forum Editor 15:09 04 Oct 05

and thanks for initiating the thread. As you might suppose, I know a good deal more about some of our forum members than is disclosed by their online manner. Over the years I have discovered the most amazing facts about many people - all of which are destined to remain secret as far as I'm concerned. What does come across however, is that your experience - of discovering that someone you thought was meek & mild is exactly the opposite when online - is one that I have shared on many occasions.

Not everyone is comfortable when addressing a group of strangers in person, it can be a pretty daunting experience, and many people would rather die than stand up and talk in front of such a group. Put those same people into the anonymous framework of a web forum however, and lots of them will blossom into confident, assertive individuals. They lose their fear of falling, so to speak, and after all - who cares if you say something silly? You can always re-register under a different username, or even go off to another forum and start afresh.

  wee eddie 16:12 04 Oct 05

Many moons ago, I did a Publisher Course at the local college.

We had finished a module about half a class early and the Tutor asked, in passing, what experience we had all had of the "net".

All had done Searches but few had ever visited a chat room, so he decided that an extra mural class on Chat Rooms would fill the extra time.

Several went home but the dozen, or so, of us left settled into a guided tour. He explained many things, including the advice that we should not log-on using our own name. One of the girls, an exceedingly demure young wife in her late twenties, Logged-on as Sophie, her teenage daughter's name, and started chatting to someone or other.

A few minutes later she drew our attention to something her correspondent had said. Whit the phrase "How on earth can she say that". We naturally gathered round to see what had been said.

Reading through the previous entries, it became obvious that "She" was a "He" and when this was pointed out the young wife became highly offended.

Only to be mollified when it was pointed out to her that she wasn't Sophie either, and certainly not single!

  ade.h 16:55 04 Oct 05

Have you had any rather disappointing dates you're not telling us about? ;-)

  Forum Editor 17:11 04 Oct 05

on a planet not far from the sun, I used to moderate another, larger forum than this one - based in America. It was ostensibly a computer-related forum, but computers were the last things many people wanted to talk about, and inevitably there were virtual fights and slanging matches - pretty well every night in fact.
It all got the better of me on more than one occasion, and I was constantly moaning to my wife, whose inevitable response was "why do you bother with it then - you don't need to do it, so don't." There's no answer to that kind of logic, and I ploughed on, hoping that things would improve (they didn't, but that's another story) and that I would achieve some kind of stability amongst the online crowd. One night, very late, a row broke out over American foreign policy - a favourite topic - and the fur was flying. In the heat of the battle a new member suddenly appeared and started to support my efforts at peace-making. This person - who revealed herself to be a woman - helped me no end, and when it was all over she massaged my online ego no end - saying I had handled the situation superbly etc., and like most males I responded. We enjoyed one of those cosy online moments that can happen when two online strangers meet in the middle of the night - a feeling of togertherness that was all the more fun for being so brief. It was over and done with, and that was that..........until a couple of days later, when at breakfast my wife asked how things were going in the forum. I said 'fine', she said "anything interesting happened recently?" and of course I said "No".

You've guessed the rest by now I'm sure. My online stranger was my own wife, who was on a business trip to New York, and had logged into the forum to see me at work. I wouldn't have recognised her by her online style in a million years, and she said the same about me. It was a sobering moment, and it took a while for me to get over the fact of how easy it is to slip into another persona when you have the Internet between you and the rest of the world.

  spikeychris 17:23 04 Oct 05

Even more interesting. "We enjoyed one of those cosy online moments that can happen when two online strangers meet in the middle of the night - a feeling of togertherness that was all the more fun for being so brief"

The persona change - imagine, wife logs in [anon] and massages the ego of husband who was feeling under pressure. She says all the right things and makes husband feel great, wife then tells husband [who doesn't yet know she is wife] she admires him and asks if he is married. Does he love his wife? Is his wife a nag? Whats her greatest fault....

*Ouch*

  Taran 17:25 04 Oct 05

Oh, the potential for mischief, mishap and misadventure, with the Miss in question...

  stalion 18:25 04 Oct 05

me myself I am the same on line as in real life

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