posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 06:12 AM
It's commonly acknowledged that in our everyday lives, we tend to 'wear masks' based on the situations and circumstances in which we find
ourselves. When we engage in conversation with our colleagues at work, when we go out socialising with friends, when we have dinner with our
partner's parents, when we attend the Opera etc., we are likely to have a different set of ways in which we will act and present ourselves. One of
the key changes is in our overt personality or persona. What I mean by this is the manner in which we act is usually dependent on the way in which we
want to be received.
World 1: Real Life Interactions (personality)
World 2: The Internet (persona)
In our real life interactions, we are likely to be more guarded and covert towards strangers, but more open and friendly towards those that are close
to us. We tend to be more professional and formal when dealing with colleagues, customers and superiors. Since other people discuss our actions and
personality traits behind our backs, most of us want to appear likeable in our interactions with others. Social standards and contracts, codes of
conduct and fear of ridicule are some of the key barriers that discourage us from expressing anything other than what is deemed acceptable and
On the internet, we are likely to be more open and honest about controversial topics and experiences since we can usually control our level of
anonymity, maintain indirect communication with others and contain what we say to 'cyberspace'. The dark side to this is that people can get away
with being more judgemental, cruel and less fearful of being held accountable for their commentary. The light side is that people with unique ideas
can more easily express themselves without fear of ridicule or harming their reputation.
What I see today is two worlds beginning to collide: our Real Life Personality vs. our Internet Persona. Millions of people around the
world sharing so much information about themselves on the internet that the two become near inseparable. I know some would see this as a good thing:
we 'should' conduct ourselves on the internet as we would in real life and expect others to do the same. But the reality is that we are removing the
barrier between our online selves and our offline selves and this can have dangerous outcomes.
Of course, people can limit this conflict by simply not taking part in social networking and drawling the line at how much personal information they
share online. But the pressure is there to 'get with the times' or be left behind. It's not about 'fitting in and feeling accepted by others',
but rather keeping up with family and friends through the technological revolution we are currently experiencing.
What do you think: are two worlds colliding, or are they merely fusing together?