Cassie’s avatarAre you the same person online as you are in the real physical world?

I was once accused online of being an old man who goes into chat rooms naked pretending to be a teenage girl. Ew! Can’t imagine anyone who meets me in person accusing me of that, but it makes me wonder.

Who are the real people behind the names at the blogs where I read and comment? Are they lying about who they are? Their gender? Their age? How would you know? Leave aside the pervs and the creeps, and wonder why people are so different? Probably they don’t like who they are. Are there other reasons?

I am more upbeat and more outgoing online than I am in person. Also more athletic. But I am still me. Are you?

Then again, I meet a lot of “real” people who are much more like avatars than human beings. High school can be like that but so can churches and synagogues. In HS, you understand that we’re all still becoming who we will grow up to be, and so it’s OK to try on new interests and new styles. But new personalities? No thank you!

But there are also a lot of adults, way past 20 or 25 adults, who act more like internet avatars than actual humans. I know someone who calls the Stepford Wives. They’re pretty scary, and sometimes it hurts to find out who the human being underneath actually is.

In 2008 I want to become a little more like my online avatar, and I want her to become a little more like me.