No I am not talking about how the internet sounds, or that horrible dial up noise. In my last podcast I mentioned how some people have an internet persona, and well yesterday wired had an article about how easy it is to misinterpret tone in electronic communication. Read the full wired story.
“People often think the tone or emotion in their messages is obvious because they ‘hear’ the tone they intend in their head as they write,” …
…The reason for this is egocentrism, or the difficulty some people have detaching themselves from their own perspective, says Epley. In other words, people aren’t that good at imagining how a message might be understood from another person’s perspective.
Being a part of a couple of online communities has opened an unusual door to the world of missinterpreted messages. I have come to despise some communications online and more importantly “internet personas.”
I used to have a rule for years, if I did not know you IRL (In Real Life) I would not talk to you on the internet. People missrepresent themselves too often and don’t understand that while the internet provides some anonimity, you should still feel accountable for what you claim to be or what you say. Little by little I stopped being so closed minded about it and I actually allowed myself to establish a couple of online friendships. For the most part I like to meet the people IRL before I call them friends, but people like April, Bea, Marchal, Berry, Michael, Pol, Evil_Ataril and others I call friends just through online interaction. While I think meeting them in real life is still the ultimate test, I still find myself capable of calling them friends. I also call friends some of the online buddies that I had the chance to meet in real life like TheGuru and MikeP.
All the people I mentioned there are part of the blogsphere, and while in a way it could be considered a huge internet message board, it is not. Internet message boards have been a difficult thing for me to deal with because of how different people tend to be when you meet them IRL. Maybe it is partly because the boards that I am a member of (gaming and motorcycle) are full of testosterone and who has the fastest machine (both motorcycle displacement and processing power.) All of the places that I visit I have the opportunity to eventually meet the people IRL. With CLSB I ended up making some friends that I will keep for the rest of my life, same with the Michigan gaming community. However, I have also had encounters with people that wear a mask online and then IRL they are either the complete opposite or a toned down version of who they are online. I cannot understand why.
I know we all have some level of self image that is different than what others might percieve of us. Some of the internet personas though are so extreme that they are unpleasant to the point that I would not want to associate with that person at all. Racism has been a big issue for me. Some people feel that on the internet they can state their beliefs in a very open way, calling people names, singling out a whole race with a single statement… but then IRL those people don’t back up those words, they cannot look at you in the eye and say those same things.
Other people have been simply very confrontational, very in your face. I thought a couple of them would be people that would actually come up to me and try to hurt me physically, but then you meet them IRL and it is laughable how just being behind a keyboard made them grow virtual muscles that deflate rapidly as you stare at them face to face. The most annoying instance to me is when I have had internet encounters with people that I have grown to really dislike, but then people that have met the person IRL say, that guy is one of the nicest people you would ever meet. My question is, then why does he play a low life ingnorant bully wannabe in the internet?
I admit that everything that is inside of this blog is only a portion of who I really am, it is a little window to my world but not a complete view. Not just because it is written and it is at times hard to transmist tone over the net, but because you have to be around me to really experience how weird, geeky, cool and overall different I can be. However, everything that you see online from me is something that you can see in real life too. There is no mask that I wear or persona that I portray, what you read is what you will hear come out of my mouth too… only it will have a Colombian accent.