The Internet has changed the way we communicate. The difference between communication online and communication in “real life” is that when you are online, people cannot see you, and therefore have no idea who you actually are. So, people often feel a greater sense of freedom and anonymity, which allows them to reveal either who they truly are, or who they want to be. People often reveal their personalities differently online than in real life. The personalities formed in this free environment play an important role online. In “Psychology of Weblogs,” Grohol states that people use blogs because they enjoy hearing about other people living their lives; they especially enjoy strong or unique personalities. Grohol stated, “what’s the purposes of the thousands of small, individually-run sites? One word - personality” (Grohol).
Communication over the Internet is based on trust. When you hold a conversation with someone online, the person on the other end of the conversation really has no idea if you are who you say you are, and you also have no way of knowing if they are who they say they are. This situation of questionable identity can occur even when you are talking with friends. I am sure many of us have played this game by chatting on someone else’s instant messenger, all the while letting the other person assume we were someone else. The same thing can happen in chat rooms or even on blogs.
Bloggers are free to recreate their personality in the virtual community. This situation gives people the perfect opportunity to change the way they portray themselves to others. It is their chance to be someone else. In “The Good, the Bad, and the Internet,” Globus supports the idea that alternative personalities are used online by stating, “In cyberspace, looks don’t count. You can also choose to share only the things about yourself that you consider flattering. You can also adopt new behaviors or even a whole new identity.” (Globus) McLaren continues by stating, “You can’t ever really know if they are who they say they are.” (Globus) After all, 24 percent of teenagers who were questioned about using different Internet communication tools admitted to pretending to be someone else while online (Globus).
After all, if you met someone online, would you really want to tell them about your lesser characteristics?