adventures of my mind

Online Persona

March 21st, 2009 by | Word Count: 689 | Reading Time 2:46 3,444 views

Growing up, I’m sure you heard the term “liquid courage” or “telephone tough guy” thrown around to describe certain people. Of course, these people are those who act like they are tough when they have a few drinks in them or are on the other end of a phone and not within any immediate danger from the current situation. With the creation of the online community, we have seen the arrival of the “cyber tough guy.” Nothing new, but lately, I’m seeing more and more of these online personalities who show absolutely zero regard for people’s feelings.

There is a major difference between being inconsiderate and downright disrespectful and rude. As I read the news and associated blog sites online, I am overwhelmed by the complete lack of civility people have with their online personas. I call them personas because if their actions and words are anything like their online gibberish, they would most likely be instigating fights every time their mouth utters a spoken syllable.

People have used the “anonymity” of online to disguise who they really are and with this disguise, they are continually revealing their distinct lack of maturity and respect for others around them. What really bothers me is that the “normal” people that frequent sites rarely speak their minds because they have become afraid to speak up in fear of a public flame war. It appears that the vast majority of online conversationalists is decidedly liberal and of the mind that they can do whatever they want without any ramifications.

I’ll admit that I frequent several sites and read news stories and posts but I don’t join in. In the midst of 300 posts, a rational statement is thrown under the weight of such ignorance that it simply fails to dent the careening momentum of the massive stupidity. At times, I will read something so disgraceful that I am left speechless. I can’t believe people think a certain way let alone write it for everyone to see. Sometimes, I think people post online just to push the limits of what we will accept.

If we don’t respond, these people will continue to think that their actions are acceptable because they haven’t been reprimanded. Eventually, their online persona will infect their real life persona. I believe our society is currently at this stage. After a generation of young adults has grown up with the Internet in their life, they cannot distinguish real life, from online life. They act the same and they allow their mouth to speak anything that comes to mind without fear of retribution.

What we are really missing are the mentors of our lives. There is a distinct lack of mentors in our real lives and there are zero mentors online to direct people and keep people in line. Online is a place where anything goes and everything is acceptable it seems. Our real lives have been infected by this way of thinking and we are paying a social price for that.

My online persona is the exact same as my real life persona. I treat people online the same way I treat them physically. What I think we need to do is return correctness to our online communities. Sure, it is exactly like trying to move a mountain, but we can all do our part to inject a little bit of rationality, respect, and civility in the sites we visit. When you read something that offends you, post a rational response to it and let them know what has been said is disrespectful, hurtful, or just plain wrong.

Don’t fear the online flame wars, they will happen. But, if other normal people see the fight being taken, they will be more comfortable joining in rather than diving in by their lonesome and simply giving up. We need to do something because the longer we allow the online community become so acceptable to outrageous behavior, the worse our real world will become. Our younger generation already has no idea how to discern online life from real life. Their facebook or myspace is more important to them than their grades are…

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