With a post I recently wrote, I decided to send the link to my friend, thinking she’d be interested in reading the comments on the discussion. I say this casually, but in reality I. Was. Terrified. But why? Am I not myself in front of her, and am I not myself on this blog, or any other social media? So why should it be so scary? I think, for me and for most other people, there’s internet me, and there’s real life me. They’re both me, but they’re not the same person.
Internet me is, in a way, a lot more honest. I can say a lot of things without fear of being judged, because what are you going to do? Unfollow me? Oh, the horror! I have had a really bad fight with an internet friend, and of course that was really awful, and of course the others in our group were upset about it. But there was no awkwardly passing each other in the corridors at school, or still being connected by mutual friends. Basically, it was as if the other person just disappeared. Don’t get me wrong, it hurts as much as a fight with a real life friend, but the aftermath isn’t nearly as bad. And that’s for an internet friend, which is completely different to an internet… acquaintance? Follower? You know, whatever you are, reader person. If any of you decided you hated me, it wouldn’t be that hurtful, because I don’t really know you! At the same time, I value the opinions of everyone who has ever commented on one of my posts – that’s why I write, to talk to people about their thoughts. But, you know, I can speak my mind more than I can to real life people, to an extent.
In saying that, as much as I adore my lil internet babies, they definitely don’t know me as well as my real life friends do. No matter how honest you think you’re being, you automatically put some sort of a filter on when you post online. I have a lot of time to think about how I want to write this post, and edit little bits, and change whatever I’m not happy with. Even mid-argument I can think about what I want to say. When you’re with someone, you don’t have that filter, because you have to respond RIGHT NOW, you can’t sleep on it, or quickly ask your friends what you should say. And because you don’t have that, real life people get a more instant version of you, the reality of whatever comes into your head first. In that same way, I think my host sister, who I lived with for 10 weeks (in her home in America and mine) knows me better than some people I’ve known much longer. It’s that mush your brain is when you first wake up that she’s subjected to, 2am-and-being-sick me, just got off a plane and haven’t slept in 24 hours me. But also having the time of my life at Disneyland me, laughing til I cry me. The best and worst bits, because you’re the most honest you in the privacy of your own home. My internet friends get Skype calls when we’re looking nice and aren’t busy, or are just prepared to see each other. It isn’t every single day at school, which is again different.
But it isn’t like I lie on the internet, of course I don’t! I’m just a different version of me, that I’m not in real life. A more honest version? Or a version that you wouldn’t recognise if you saw me in real life?
How different do you think you are on the internet? Do you know anyone who seems exactly the same in real life as they are online?