Is it true that when we get behind a keyboard we change? Do we come better or worse than our every day selves?
It seems that we change when we get online. Whether we post in Twitter or on a blog or a forum we change. And you could argue that we change across each medium. Afterall if you have 140 characters to get your point across on Twitter compared to the 370ish words I can use in this post, the tone, the message, the personality of the post will change.
Even a post on this Posterous page compared to a post on www.racerviews.com or a guest post on another site – each are going to change. They have to.
It has nothing to do with being an evil person who will change his spots as soon as someone turns their back. The audience demands it. The audience that I imagine read this compared to the audience that I know reads RacerViews are different.
The audience that reads a 100 page report is going to be different to the audience that reads 50 Shades of whatever.
That is not new. What is new is that everyone does it, everyone does it everyday. Everyone does it on tools that didn’t exist five years ago.
It is also not new though for everyone to do it in the analogue existence either. If I was in a job interview or work function, I’m pretty sure that the behavioural expectations are different to if I am at the pub with my mates.
What is now different is the huge reach of our individual communications and the damage that can be done. We are seeing ever increasing instances of people behaving differently online to what they would in real life. The vile Twitter trolls or those who taunt football refs are two such examples.
We don’t necessarily know who we are online or who we talk to. In one sense we are all the same faceless person but not always. Our messages though always have a purpose and an intended reader.
Elements of authenticity and genuine-ness are there. Portrayed, imagined – hoped for. That exists and it is ok. You just have to hope the person on the other screen agrees with you…