Me, Myself and I.E. – An examination of online behaviour
Posting on online forums enables people to give an airbrushed version of their lives. Online forums are a great way of interacting with people and can certainly improve one’s self esteem in situations they would find difficult in a face-to-face setting.
While there are many positives to posting online, it can lead to unpleasant behaviors. Forum posting brings a lot of pleasure, but there are many downsides when it transitions into a time consuming activity.
The Nature of online behaviour
Online behaviour is very different to that of your natural persona in your day-to-day life. In many cases being a member of an online group reveals some parts of your personality which are often buried deep within. The fun side is one aspect which you may well enjoy, but there are other areas which can lead to territories that can become uncomfortable.
Forum mentality can lead to dark sides of people and this can be damaging. Armchair experts are everywhere on the Internet and you may think you’re making contributions but many people begin to use a forums as part of their daily lives. Online personas develop over time on forums and for some people, it can slip over into their real life. Online arguments are frequent and these can raise a nastier side of people’s personalities.
Forum posting can also lead to people leading a fantasy life in their endeavor to be seen as good, kind, unselfish and experts in certain areas. While the benefits of an online name are those of anonymity, the element of risk is that you end up becoming a different person. This can have serious side-effects on your real life.
The Internet gives your inner thoughts and feelings an audience and a keyboard in the hands of someone unhappy in real life, can lead to what is known as a ‘Walter Mitty’ persona. A persona that is not quite how it is in real life. This is more common than people care to admit. Running riot with a keyboard can lead to people losing jobs, ending up in court and basically, having their world as they know it explode in their face.
The positives of online socializing are many-fold. Mixing with like-minded people is one. There are many hobby forums and online interaction with people who enjoy the same interests are you is positive. You will receive encouragement and be able to encourage other people in their hobbies and interests. Current affairs forums are an excellent way to learn about what is happening in the world and there are some very knowledgeable people on forums.
If you need help on matters, forums can be an excellent way of stumbling across other people who are in the same situation as you, who can help you through a problem. There are many positives from posting online. Playing games, chatting with different cultures and even learning a new language. It can also be a great way to meet people if you have relocated to another area to find new friends. There are many local forums which you can join to start making connections.
The negative side of online behaviour is not pleasant, but important to be aware of. Human beings are creatures of habit and forum mentality can become addictive. Online personas which develop can reveal distasteful character traits which some people weren’t even aware existed and usually aren’t aware when they are exhibiting them in an
Forum posting can also affect your family life. The danger is, you can begin to spend more time on forums, this can lead to spending less time with family. It’s all too easy to feel welcomed by an ‘online family’ and forget your real family, who will be wondering where you have disappeared to. There may well be real people online, but the real people in your life, could well end up suffering if you allow your online socializing to become a major player in your life.
So post away by all means but just remember that there is a world away from your computer. For now at least….