Sunday, November 27, 2005

Our Online Selves

We've all got one. If you're reading this - you have. And as I'm writing this - I have.

So who are these people. Are they ourselves? An extension of ourselves? Imposters?
Do we really know each other? Did it ever cross your mind that I might be a female research psychiatrist posing as a BiPolar guy? Or maybe I'm a 15 year old school kid? A CIA agent?No? How can you be sure?

And those people we chat with on forums, get to know, consider them our buddies - who are they? Is it just all fake? One step removed from reality?

The real question, in my opinion, is DOES IT MATTER? I mean hey, if we get on with these people, they are on identical wavelengths to us, and we can hold engaging conversations with them - what's the fucking difference?

Even more importantly: Looks are deceiving. Just cos you can see me - do you really know who I am? I could be anyone - a serial killer, an Al Queda operative, or the next Noble Prize winner. If anything, my looks might give you preconceived ideas. There is something very liberating about existing in the online ether.

Watching one of the forums I particpate in I got this weird thought. What's to stop you opening 5 different accounts with 5 different profiles and all entering the same forum? Imagine the mayhem you could wreak. You could gang up on people. Use one of your selves as a decoy. Have humungous arguments with yourself. Start flirting with yourself. Real multiple personality stuff.

Imagine starting this whole forum where the only members are yourselves, having vigorous discussions with each other and millions of unsuspecting online guests watching this "community" with awe and wonder.

Another day on the Net. Amongst other things (like preparing Project DOG), I spent a good few hours tweaking this blog. Look in my left bar =>

You should see a new drop down menu I've called "Essential Posts". Hope you like them.
I loved making them. In fact this blog is becomming one of my greater sources of happiness right now.


  1. I think a huge part of the appeal of an online identity is related to the fact that you can simply start over if things in your current online 'life' are not going your way.

    Messed things up? No problem, just click on register and you get another shot. If only real life was this simple.

    (As you said, you can even maintain multiple identities serving different purposes. Although I think this would be cheating to some extent. But then again I suppose most of us do this in real life too, to some extent.)

    Linked to this is the confidence that you get from knowing this, and the feeling that you can interact with the world in a way most people wouldn't even dream of doing in 'real' life.

    I think that, as you've pointed out before, this can be a great therapeutic tool to get stuff out in the open that you would otherwise just have bottled up inside.

    Does it matter that many of the people we interact with online are simply projections of what people would deem to be their ideal selves? I don't believe it does. In real life, the same thing happens every day. People tend to project an identity as they would like the world to see them, not as they truly are. Exactly the same thing.

    Best of luck with Project DOG, looking forward to taking a look when it's ready!

  2. Like the drop down menu!

    I feel like I've come to know "online people" much more intimately than many offline people. This medium seems to lend itself more to self-revelation and getting to the heart of things. And it's good therapy as well--and free!

  3. It's wonderful to have an outlet that you can really open up, say things you wouldn't dream of saying to someone in person. If someone pisses you off or doesn't understand, pretend they don't exist. Last night I posted some things so personal, that would sound so horrible to the average person, but I know my regular readers understand. I'm going to enjoy reading thru your blog.


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