Last week when I wrote about being somewhat of an introvert, I was shocked at how many of you said that I described you to a T. It got me thinking that maybe that’s why people like us live a good part of our lives online. Maybe we try to feel more connected that way, and are more comfortable sitting behind a screen instead of putting ourselves out there in the world and meeting new people. Maybe sometimes we feel like we could be more social or free online without any expectations of us. In reality, we should feel that way all the time.
It’s funny, because even though there is a vast virtual ocean of data in between me and another person, I still think too much about striking up conversations or deciding what to say to certain people. Not everyone, just certain people. There are people that I’d love to get to know that have no idea I feel this way. That’s pretty silly when I think about it. In a way, contacting someone online makes me recede into a hole even farther because I can’t see their reaction to what I say. That’s crazy, isn’t it?
We can post photos of ourselves online. Share emotions and probably more than we’d normally share (in real life) via status updates, yet still the thought of sharing ourselves with an actual other human being seems like a big task. Maybe it’s because even though we’re connected, we’re not actually connecting. We’re talking to an object and not to a face. I’m definitely more of a visual person and my memory is pretty photographic. I can usually remember how someone looked when they said something or what they were wearing. When you take that ability away from me, I guess I just feel a bit lost. I wonder what a person’s reaction is to what I say and cross my fingers that what I write goes into their mind the same way it came out of mine. I’ve even edited this post about a dozen times in hopes of clarifying my rambling thoughts for you! In real life, there is no edit button.
I think about the real me, and the “online me” and sometimes they feel like different people. It’s not that I’m not being myself, it’s just that my thought pattern seems to change between the two. I am more conscious of what I say and do online than I am in real life. My choice of words might be slightly different from how I would normally talk. If I really wanted to, I could strike up a conversation with anybody in the world… so why is it so different in real life?
If we treated real life like the internet, would you be a different person?