When I write columns I often find I can’t quite articulate what I’m trying to say, but I think I got pretty close with this one for .net.
For most of us, there’s a difference between the person we really are and the person we play on the internet. I don’t mean in a mild-mannered janitor/ Hong Kong Phooey way (or in a mild-mannered janitor/Dennis Nilsen way either). I mean that unless you’re ridiculously honest, American, or 14, then you practise a certain amount of self-censorship. What people see is still you, but it’s a toned-down, smartened up, edited highlights version of you.
Sometimes that censorship is a temporary thing, so you’re posting hilarious things online when in the real world you want to hurl yourself off a bridge, or hurl somebody else off a bridge. Sometimes it’s a self-preservation thing, where you know that telling the truth about your boss will change nothing other than your employment status. And sometimes it’s because the whole point of your online identity is that it lets you leave behind the bits you don’t like.
I think that last one is why I loathe the popular social networks so much… slowly but surely they’re filling up with the very people I, and perhaps you, went online to get away from in the first place.