Social Question

the_state_of_wisconsin's avatar

Do you use a false persona on the internet?

Asked by the_state_of_wisconsin (351 points ) February 1st, 2010

why? in what ways does it differ from your actual personality?

in a broader sense, what is the effect of having the freedom to create/destroy multiple online personalities at will?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

36 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

No, I save all that creativity for my off-web writing.

Chongalicious's avatar

Nope! I see no need to lie. Although there’s no way I’m about to give a bunch of extra personal info…

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I used to do this when I was younger, back in middle and some high school. I found it kind of freeing. I grew up in a small town where I pretty much had a set (but not particularly accurate) reputation since pre-school, so the idea of being someone else was very attractive to me. The problem was, I would pass myself as someone extremely different from myself, and apparently I was so convincing that it got me into some trouble. I made a lot of friends who believed me to be a very different person, and when I finally told the truth, they were understandably hurt, and thus I felt pretty bad about doing it.

That was before I realized I was just as interesting a person as my personas, without adding unnecessary drama and such. At the same time, “being” these characters allowed me to more successfully and realistically using them in my writing. Since I’ve stopped using online personas in my daily life, I’ve stopped most of my creative writing. Still, I’m glad I now have the confidence to make friends with people with my own personality, not just one I’ve made up.

the_state_of_wisconsin's avatar

@chongalicious – i appreciate the answer, though this is in no way a ploy to get personal info about any users here. i think that this discussion can happen outside of citing specific examples that might be overly revealing…

Fyrius's avatar

I tried that when I was a teenager.
Now I’m happy I can just be myself online.

wundayatta's avatar

Why would you run a false persona when you can actually be yourself on the internet?

suncatnin's avatar

That’s really interesting that you posted that while I was working on a similar question…I’ll be watching this post to see what answers you get that are similar/different from mine. My answer is also that I used to use a false persona (name/handle/location) when I was under 18 but the only reason I did it was to prevent online stalking.

the_state_of_wisconsin's avatar

@wundayatta that’s part of the question. The internet provides a sort of safe way to explore the idea of inhabiting different personalities at will.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@the_state_of_wisconsin – Oh, I’m sure. It’s only that I can’t be arsed to make up stuff or create a whole new persona for online fora, though. That’s all. And not if I can use those ideas for a screenplay or a sketch instead.

TehRoflMobile's avatar

For the most part, I stick to my own personality. However, I have a feeling I sound more intelligent online because I can take time to think about what I’m going to say, rather when I’m talking in person I kind of mumble and get words mixed up.

wundayatta's avatar

I think a lot of us read Enders Game. We’re familiar with the idea of creating personae that get attention for one thing and another, and then argue with each other. The truth of the matter is that I am running five of the most lurved characters on fluther. There’s also the one that no one lurves, but you can’t win them all.

But you know, it’s getting boring arguing with myself because I already know what I“m going to say. So I think I’m going to turn those personae over to zombie control. Although I won’t tell you which ones. It might even be this one. In fact, I might already be under zombie control.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

No, I don’t. Why would I? What you see is what you get on here & in real life. Besides, wouldn’t you have to think about what you were trying to hide, or make up? It’s just like lying. If you don’t lie, then you don’t have to think about it.

Sarcasm's avatar

Yes and no.
I don’t pretend to be a different person. I don’t pick up beliefs or ideas that are not actually mine. That simply doesn’t make sense.
I don’t change my story, I don’t pretend that I’m not a 20-year-old single college guy in San Diego, CA. Those facts all end up being important for perspective on some answers I give here and there.

However.
I’m an introvert. Actually, stating that doesn’t put it into perspective. I’m shy, I deal with a lot of social anxiety. I avoid social situations whenever possible. If I’m stuck in one, I avoid participating as much as possible. Even if I’m having a good night with close friends of mine, I still avoid conversing, I much rather simply observe.
This does not bleed through into my internet presence. I’m quick to state my opinion, answer a question, pitch an idea, or just simply chat, with people if I’m online. The computer gives me a comfortable barrier.

Relative to my quiet real-life persona, my conversational online persona seems a bit “fake”.

the_state_of_wisconsin's avatar

@wundayatta great! but its interesting that you choose to “be yourself” over five seperate identities…

also, @jbfletcherfan i don’t think that using the word “lying” in that way isn’t fair. Even in real life we make decisions that affect how we are perceived…isn’t that also “lying”?

wundayatta's avatar

By the way, @the_state_of_wisconsin, you are one of my alternate personalities. So don’t get all carried away with yourself, or I might have to suicide you. And don’t test me. I’ve done it before. Ask anyone!

Dog's avatar

~ Nope- I am, in fact, a dog.

the_state_of_wisconsin's avatar

@wundayatta i agree, I/we need serious help!

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@the_state_of_wisconsin Using the word ‘lying’ is what I said & it’s what I meant. I don’t care if you think it’s fair or not. I’m true to my personality & my beliefs. My point was, that what I say on here is what I’d say in RL. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I don’t have to think about what I’m going to say. Which story to tell. Because I have no false stories.

buckyboy28's avatar

@wundayatta @the_state_of_wisconsin Do the 5 of you share a single computer or do you each have your own? I think that having to log in and out several times in a single thread would get to me.

syz's avatar

Nope.

aprilsimnel's avatar

::gasp!:: The Borg! Aaaaiiieee!!! ::runs away::

janbb's avatar

Penguin here.

wundayatta's avatar

@buckyboy28 On the advice of my attorney, I have abandoned @the_state_of_wisconsin (without tears, I might add), and seek asylum in the state of Grace, under their witness protection pogrom. All further inquiries are to be directed to the Grand Inquisitor, who holds office hours on the third Thursday of the second month of millennium, or the day that hell freezes over, whichever is first.

daemonelson's avatar

I have six internet identities, but only one or two slightly varying personalities.

I usually only change little things about myself. Such as age by a few years. Nothing dramatic.

liminal's avatar

Nope. Would take entirely too much energy.

the_state_of_wisconsin's avatar

@jbfletcherfan i get your point, but the idea that you never consider things like your beliefs, appearance, or actions is silly.

take for instance your avatar that you choose, a squirrel. this isn’t your image, but it isn’t like lying either…it’s more akin to wearing clothes. you don’t exactly represent yourself as a squirrel in real life.

likewise, in this environment, you can redact, edit, and carefully ponder each statement you make before you make it…even if you don’t present a “false” story, you can sort of easily fudge details in this environment…

imagine if you had a stutter…you probably wouldn’t choose to type like that would you?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I take @liminal ‘s answer

filmfann's avatar

I used to, but I was dealing with Schiz issues.

gailcalled's avatar

Sometimes I think that Milo has invented me.

Arisztid's avatar

The person I present online is pretty much the one in real life other than I come across as aloof at times in real life. I am not a social butterfly, am shy, can “lay on the charm” when needed, but, really, prefer to be rather quiet and have a small social circle.

This results in an occasional appearance of aloofness and disdainfulness. I am painfully polite and courteous to strangers rather than friendly as I am online.

If I am comfortable, such as at a biker party or in a martial arts Dojo, my comfort shows in joking, comfort, and just fitting in, but the aloofness is very prominent other than my comfort areas. I am also at ease with some of my co workers and generally at ease when working with my patients.

I am less likely to get into controversial debates in real life because it is much easier to click the “off” button than it is to walk away IRL.

onesecondregrets's avatar

Dork in real life, dork on the computer.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, the persona is real, but I don’t use my real name, usually.

princessbuttercup's avatar

Well, my name princessbuttercup is a fictional character from The Princess Bride so that is not my original name. But further than that no.

candide's avatar

no, I really am a jellyfish!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Yes, I’m actually a Klingon orbiting Uranus. Hence the time lag.

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