Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Me You See vs. The Me You Don't

I was reading a post by Seanan McGuire just now (at Rose Owls and Pumpkin Girls) wherein she talks about discovering that someone considers her online persona 'grating', and it got me to thinking.  What is my online persona?  Is who I am here online the same as who I am here in the house?  Pretty much.  Is that person the same as the one who goes to the grocery store?

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: If I could be who I really was all the time, I'd be the person you all see online rather than the person I present to the physical world.

I'm not nearly as angry online.  When I sit down to go into the internet, I'm stepping into my happy spot.  Sure, people here piss my off on occasion, but if I don't like it, I can walk away with one click of the mouse.  I can't just pick up and move away from the morons I encounter in my daily life.  And sometimes when I try to walk away, they follow me, trying to get my attention.  Of course, in either case, my anger never gets out.  I just seethe more out in reality.

I think I might be just as friendly in the real world as I am here, but I'm more guarded in real life.  I have to watch what I say - mainly because there's no delete button.  There's no chance to edit my thoughts out there in the real world.  I have to trust in my leaky brain to filter out the really stupid things before they come dribbling out of my face.  Like the other day when I offered to get a chair for a pregnant woman, and she wasn't pregnant*.  Derp.

And here I can say things like 'Derp' and no one thinks I'm retarded.  (Yes, I do say Derp at home, too, but they already know I'm retarded and they love me anyway.)

Whether or not I'm grating to people occurs to me every once in a while.  And then I motor along being myself anyway.  Way back in the early days of my original blog (the first incarnation of The Writing Spectacle), I wrote a post about being a WYSIWYG person.   It's a computer term meaning 'What You See Is What You Get'.  That's about it.  What you see of me here is what you get. 

Who are you online?  Are you the real you or a persona you've created to meet someone's expectation of who you should be?  How that working out for you?


  1. Like you, I'm probably a combination of the two, but on-line I censor what I say far more than I do at home. Luckily, the dogs are immune to my outbursts as I rail against the stupid people and Lawyer Guy shares my views, by and large. But out there in the WWW? I share very little. I joke. I kid around. I care. But I don't expound on politics or religion or the state of the world.

    I need to add, though, that I have made some very powerful connections with on-line friends. And that's different from the masses who inhabit cyberspace.

    I also need more caffeine. ;-)

  2. Hmm, good post. Truth be told, I don't hide much of myself from the online world. If something is really bothering me or I'm super stressed about something, I often don't share the particulars with internet people (with the rare exception), but other than that I'm pretty open. However, I do censor my thoughts and opinions online more, simply because I'd like to have a career one day and I don't want something I said five years ago to hinder that. =)

  3. I'm pretty much a WYSIWYG person, too. Though as I get older, I try to talk less in public. Then I don't shove my feet so deeply into my mouth.

    I'd have tried to get a chair for the not-pregnant woman, too. Oops!

  4. I'm definitely more consistent online. As in, in real life I have all sorts of moods, but online my happy self is what shows up all the time. It's not fake. I'm just happy when I'm online. :)

  5. I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately. Last year, I finally met a fellow writer who'd I'd only ever communicated with on Twitter. And on Twitter, he's an angry dude, full of sarcasm, rarely anything positive to say (but he's super funny, which is why people follow him, including me). In person, though, he's SO SHY and hardly speaks!

    I think I'm me online, but I'm a filtered version of me. I try to only Facebook/tweet/blog about the positive things going on, but sometimes the moodier stuff seeps in. I'm also way more potty mouthed in person, and I think I'm funnier in real life. Truthfully, online, I hold back. Way back.