Online vs. Real Life

Sorry for the late(r) entry today- I had a late night last night followed quickly by an early-afternoon shift at work, so I didn’t have enough time to concentrate and write something here.

Today I’m acting on a DailyPost prompt, which asks an interesting question: how do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? And how do you communicate intent and emotion through a purely written medium?

I’ve always found the internet to be an easy way out of things. When you’re in real life, you’re constantly thrust into situations that can make you uncomfortable just as often as they can make you happy.

The internet is entirely different. When you’re on the net, you don’t have to go anywhere you don’t want to. If someone is annoying you, you have the option of closing a chat window or blocking. You can’t do that as easily when you’re in real life.

An example of how absolutely terrible the internet is from my own life: In grade nine, being a stupid kid in grade nine, I had a crush on a girl. And rather than communicate my feelings in person (as I’ve done ever since), I actually sent this girl an email. You can imagine how embarrassing it must have been for her to receive it and then reply to it, stating, clearly, that she wasn’t interested.

I took my time writing the email and made sure to try and spill how I felt, but it was still super, super, super dumb. I was also naive enough to think that the email would stay between her and me. Later, I found out others heard about my stupidity.

So I don’t use the internet to court favour with women I like. If I like someone, I will make an effort to convey my feelings face-to-face.

But aside from that, I think I’m a little different online than I am in person. I’m certainly quieter when I’m talking in real life, which makes sense. For all you know, this sentence I’m writing could have taken ten seconds to write, or I could have taken a two hours’ break before finishing it. You won’t know the difference, whereas if I stopped in the middle of a sentence for two hours while talking, the silence would be deafening.

Online, I’ve almost never used internet shorthand, I think there was a brief period where I used the word “lol” unironically, as did I use the xD face, But since that brief period I’ve always typed with proper capitalization and punctuation, and I imagine that it can give off an intimidating impression to people who read what I have to write. I’m fine with the way I type, though, because I’ll never be comfortable not capitalizing or punctuating.

It’s kind of the way I am in real life, too- I think I can sound almost excessively formal to people, which I sometimes am. It takes a while for people to get to know me, but once they do I think they usually find out I am a) harmless and b) nice. I hope.

Online I probably also come across as more intelligent than I am, probably because I have longer to come up with answers and posts.

As for conveying intent and emotion, I find it only works with people who know me well. If I suddenly type something like “omg u suck” people who know me will generally know I’m not being serious. As for emotion, well, if I go into a cynical rant on something, people will generally know I’m really pissed off, which is something that doesn’t happen all too often (which is a good thing).

So I’m definitely a little more articulate online, but hey, aren’t a lot of people? Actually no, no they aren’t.


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