Online vs Real Personailities

I noted many years ago that the personality that a person reflects online is often sharply distinct from what they display in person. Why do you suppose that is? :-k


No one can ever be different than they are. The question is merely one of how they play the “game”. Different environments suggest, and sometimes require, a different “gaming strategy”.

What we are witnessing from each other is the gaming strategy results. Of course that implies there is some “winning” to the game. In most cases, the only winning being sought is very minor and in very many cases is merely “playing around” without concern for any gain or damage to others. Sometimes the person has high hope of being recognized.

Online one can be very inconsiderate, cruel, and careless. Sometimes they perceive no harm, so they play with gaiety. Others maintain their demeanor, concern, and respect for the needs of others and thus display something more alike to their real-time persona wherein it is more obvious when damage takes place and threats for being inconsiderate are more apparent.

The perceived freedom to act on impulse is much higher online. Disrespect is prevalent and without regard - until threatened by alert mods. “Why not?” is the underlying thought.

Such behavior reveals a little more of the underlying impulses within people and tends to present a picture of a character framed around only more hidden components of their entire personality. It is similar to “first impressions” in that it is easy to believe that you have perceived more of the person than you really have.

So the difference is not merely one of the players exercising different personas, but also the observers exercising free judgment - “Why not?”

Blame it on anonimity. Avatars can be whatever they choose, and if it goes badly, one click of the mouse and they are gone.

Ah yes but, are they really choosing to reflect something different? Or are they unwittingly responding differently? And why?

It’s the difference between RL self-censorship and internet saying whatever the hell I please. I suppose the reasons are as varied as the people involved, but being able to speak from “behind the curtains” would appeal to those who are reticent in RL.

I’m much more of an asshole in real life.

I’m pretty much the same. Amazing I’ve managed to stay married. :laughing: My wife’s a brick, though in demeanor, rather than shape, I hasten to add.

I think for most people, being online represents;

  1. A different audience
  2. A different method
  3. a different purpose/intention

For many, being online is a freedom to express what they do not feel free to express in person. Or perhaps in many cases simply don’t really have much opportunity to express opinion without expecting disruption of their lives (speaking out at work or on a bus can be disruptive and even dangerous to oneself). In person, who really cares what you think?

  1. Although not perceived very accurately, it is expected that online writing represents a large audience. In person, someone seldom gets the opportunity to speak to more than one or two other people, and certainly not with any depth. This perceived situation yields ego concerns as well as concerns involving a perceived “need to know” of the world or a desire to change toward a presumed preference. “Who might be listening?” is an interesting tease to the heart and mind.

  2. Intimidation is reduced so less restraint is felt or used to govern speech and thought. Also having to construct complete sentences (for those who do) and writing entire paragraphs to express a thought before getting interrupted, is a different experience than what real life usually offers.

  3. In discussion forums, subjects are discussed that people seldom mention much about at all in person (their wives are seldom interested in the cause of gravity fields). Having to actually come up with relevant replies on subjects rather than “hi. how ya doin? what’s on TV?” is often a divergence from real life. Depth in discussion is a rarity in person.

All of these factors lead to an altered persona being accepted as one pursues an online perceived reality.

If I’m different online then I don’t realise it. If I’m different online then it would take someone from RL to point it out. So, if I am different online, it’s subconscious.

My only observation is that I tend to ‘‘take the piss’’ more in real life.(for non Irish and British people, that’s sort of joking around) I tend to do that for other people’s benefit, because they expect to spend all their time, in my company, laughing, and it’s fun, too.

Yes, I’d say that my online persona is different from my real life self. Online I can take the time to create myself or what I want to say. In real life, I have less of a chance to compose myself, and that can mean showing big or powerful emotions for a person like me. I’ve never been one to think things through when I’m talking and emoting, the way I can when when I’m writing. There’s a big difference there, I think.

(on edit) – This is the metaphor for my online personality… the edit function. Lol. :wink:

:laughing: I would like to know that part too. :unamused:

I would be banned…lol

I would be banned…lol

Girls do love assholes.

If there is a difference between your on- and offline persona(i?)lity then you prove - at least to yourself - that you are weak in at least one of the ways that distinguish the two.

Clearly it’s a capability thing, a power thing, the ability to do certain things offline is different to the ability to do things online. I cannot punch anyone online etc. People who encounter social difficulties offline can get around them online, or social retardation and slowing of any sort. Obviously socialisation is more nature than second nature to some and not others. Socialisation is impulsive and mindless, necessary for speed and solidarity in teamwork. The intellectual forsakes this skill either out of choice or not, for the sake of slow conscious deliberation. Different advantages accompany this and online environments are much more suitable for them.

Like James mentioned, intimidation is a huge factor in socialisation. If you are not approved of by the stronger socialisers, they will instinctually be cruel (cruelty can feel great: venting one’s strength). The more you shy away from this cruelty, the more cruel they will be to you and you either disappear from the social group or voluntarily become cannon fodder. The latter choice is a good one in the eyes of those higher up than you - if you can’t take it, then better the former choice: you are unwanted if you are useless. Cruelty can toughen you up because the well-trained child may not realise that one can be cruel and actually happier and approved of more than if one is obedient. This is probably the largest factor that distinguishes offline and online personalities if they are different.

The two used to be different for me, hence my initial retreat to this environment. I learnt to drop the fears I used to own and now the personae are the same. Now I own the ability to use two types of outlet for my own ends.

Not true at all.

Sad, but try not to give up hope.

LOL, how is that sad? Or an indication that I lack in, or might struggle to maintain hope? :-k

I just said that for a long time I’ve been able to be the same person on- and offline, with nothing to fear nor hide. This is the opposite of hopeless, I’m proud of the fact that it wasn’t always this way because it was a great personal victory to overcome how things used to be - hence why I share it. To see sadness and struggle to maintain hope in this… you are a strange man.

From my experience, having different personalities on- and offline can only be a symptom of fear or boredom. To do it out of love is a contradiction because you cannot love from a personality that is not yours or genuine, and to do it out of interest means you probably do it both on- and offline so as not to restrict your interest… meaning the personalities would be the same.

Fear is a weakness in a society where there is nothing real to be scared of. Perhaps in older times when your life was in danger as a matter of course, then there would be reason to be scared, and it may save your life. But now? Fear is useless and can only hold you back.

I tend to disagree, I’ll explain why in my responses below.

The thing that you must understand about on-line conversations is that I can end them anytime that I want to. I can also choose not to participate in a thread at any point, regardless of whether or not I have participated in that thread previously. It is for this reason that I can adopt a much more, “Patient,” persona on-line because it is much more difficult to simply stop responding in a face-to-face conversation.

It is for that reason that I tend to end conversations in real life abruptly on occasion, just because I don’t feel like talking about a certain thing anymore, or at all. I’m very polite when I do this, but it is still impolite to do it if that makes any sense. I’m been described by quite a few people as, “Very professional,” with regard to affairs both related to my profession and with respect to my personal life.

I would not say that I have any social retardation, just that I have a tendency to be a little more abrupt when it comes to certain conversations that I would rather not be having.

I must say that I disagree with your point. I’m not very cruel and I’m not especially kind, but I’ve never had a problem with anyone being cruel to me. I generally maintain a very calm and professional demeanor except with those that I know very well.

You?! You’re like the only normal guy around here.

Sounds to me like you aren’t very different in personal or professional life, whether online or off.

The fact that you can choose to start and stop talking at any time you like on here, and that you do this less severely in offline conversations, is not a symptom of differing personality. It is a symptom of the same personality manifesting in different environments.

When we talk about personality, we don’t mean 1 rigid way that someone is in all circumstances - it’s a general similarity in propensities towards certain actions due to certain intentions due to certain circumstances, limitations and predicted consequences.

Clearly this holds in both your on- and offline interactions, or at least there is no evidence to the contrary in the information you gave.
You are dutiful. This manifests in different ways for different situations.
You are respectful. This manifests in taking people into account to the extent you choose in either on- or offline situations. You can break off conversation in completely different ways on- and offline, but achieve the same response from others. That response is something that limits you, and influences different behaviours on- and offline. The desire for that response in either situation is because of your personality even though the manifestations can be different for different situations.

Thanks…I think. Sometimes normalcy is considered a boring character trait!

But then think about it. Are you really “normal” if you are the only one? :-k