Re: WWW representation of Real World? (I hope not)

From: Matthew Gream (
Date: Sun Feb 06 2000 - 11:01:58 MST

Hash: SHA1 wrote:

> Someone else wrote:
> I always wonder about stuff like this when I am at Natasha's lovely
> gatherings.
> People who are absolute beasts online (not meaning you Lee) will
> be as polite
> and sweet as pie in person!!!!!
> or....
> Sometimes I'll be having an enjoyable, creative and stimulating
> conversation
> about creativity or music with some guy at an Extropian party.... then
> someone, perhaps Max, will tell them I am QueeneMUSE and they
> look really
> embarrased, sort of blush, or cringe....
> I think I have somewhat the same super-silly, contradictory,
> loving-yet-confrontive personality face 2face ...expect display
> *far* less
> typos.....
> Question:
> Is there good reason to be arrogant on the net and not in person,
> when you
> are ashamed of that behavior?
> <>
> Question: Do you find that "the real you" is the net-arrogant
> person, or the
> more mild mannered one? And do you find that you are changing your "in
> person" persona to match the one you project on line? Has it
> helped you to
> hone your true nature?
> And finally, do you think that you can say things you cannot say
> in preson
> (here) because you do not have to face the person, and hence the
> consequences?
> If not that, why is it possible to say things here that you cannot say in
> public?
> Curiously,
> N

A few observations:

There are studies that have found that people do use electronic media as a
means of expressing "other" aspects of their Self. These "other" aspects are
often things that they cannot do in the real world, e.g. a real world "weak
person" may role play a "strong person" in a MUD. There may be some
similarity here to the reason that people write literature.

Also, in the "real world" people have emotions and are limited by
"conscience", "shame" and other forms of self imposed moral restrictions
(debate on whether they are consciously imposed). In an electronic medium,
there is a degree of impersonality that removes this limiter. Note, for
instance, in the real world where people exhibit different behaviours
whether in small group, large group, individual, private or public
situations -- which illustrates that people often have a suite of behaviours
corresponding to particular circumstances.

Also, sometimes the problems are in the eye of the beholder. When you read
email, you may read it according to your own methods of interpretation, not
necessarily corresponding to what the writer meant. Perhaps this is because
of a lack of unfamiliarity, and also, the lack of tonality and expression:
especially humour, irony, sarcasm, anger, etc. For instance, as part of a
shared household, I emailed my cohabitants a number of points regarding an
issue we had to deal with. One person interpreted this as me "dictating
commands for her to follow", when really for me, it was "i'm taking the lead
and illustrating a number of points we need to deal with as an open gambit,
can we use these as a basis to come to consensus ... etc". Also my father
erroneously sent a whole email message in caps lock, and as it was regarding
a sensitive issue, I thought he was shouting, I "felt" as if he was
shouting, and upon response, he said "no, I didn't mean to have the caps
lock on ..." -- what was more interesting was the emotion generated in my
own mind.

Also, sometimes when writing online, especially when writing about emotional
events from the past (e.g. a travel journey, a particular place i have
visited), strong emotions are evoked about those places when I read the
text. Others may not interpret these strong emotions, because the places and
situations do not accord with their own personal experiences.

A very interesting area to explore.


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