I recently came across this blog posting on the New York Times Motherlode from back in January – When Mommies Are Bullies. This particular quote from the end of it caught my attention:
Iâ€™ve also learned that someone who may aggravate me in the virtual playground, where one can opine in relative anonymity, might actually be likable when encountered in the real one.
This is something I have learned as well, over and over again. And yet it’s still something I do not fully understand. I’ve heard so many times that, “I’m not this way in real life,” or, “In person they’re real nice.” Why? Why when you give people a little bit of anonymity, or even just separation through a computer screen, do they feel it’s okay to be a complete jerk to people that they would never treat that way in person? What is it about the internet that seems to afflict so many people with split-personality problems? Their in person nice-ness just comes across as fake after seeing their on-line personality.
I don’t buy it. I am who I am, both on the computer and in person. And I don’t tolerate people who can’t be their true self at all times. Sure we all have the ability to say mean things to people, but if a person is only mean online, I tend to think that might be their true self and they’re just better at hiding it in person. It seems much more likely than hiding a nice person when they are online.