sci-man

how people act online versus irl

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why is it that some people act differently online versus in real life. I have a couple friends who like to be the 'villain' of the game if we are playing an RPG and I was wondering why this is. they are all pretty nice people and they hate it when people are mean to others but in the game, they change their personalities and like I stated earlier like to be the villains in games. I'm wondering why this is. Is it just to have a break from being so nice all the time or something else entirely? Any answers would be appreciated.

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Westworld: "Logan: I told you this place would show you who you really are"...

 

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1 hour ago, sci-man said:

why is it that some people act differently online versus in real life.

I actually wrote an article about this that should be published in a scientific journal during these following months, so I am just going to write something according to my manuscript. I don't know if you are familiar with Charles Cooley's theory of Looking Glass Self (1902), where there are three main components:

1. We imagine how we must appear to others in a social situation;

2. We imagine and react to what we feel their judgment of that appearance must be; 

3. We develop our sense of self and respond through this perceived judgments of others;

Now, in the case of your question, the reason why some people act differently online versus in real life is connected with Cooley's third component, by creating the virtual self that differs from the real self that one person possesses in the real world.

People often yearn toward achieving their ideal self by reflecting it in the virtual world. Virtual self refers to the “person connected to the world and to others through electronic means, such as the internet, television and cell phones. It is a sense of being and is a particular way of experiencing and interacting with the world” (Agger, 2004, p.9)

Even online, people are aware about their self-presentation. A typical example is when people reevaluate themselves before posting something on social media, because they consider it as a relevant factor which determines their character in the real world. But there is no need to change our real self when the virtual world exists. If one individual wishes to change his self under the influence of other people’s judgments, he will no longer have to actually do it. It’s enough to create a self in the virtual world where he will presented his ideal self or the self according to other’s assessments. However different people do this in different ways. 

Even though we look at our displayed virtual life, we get the false impression that we really have the life others imagine. Thus we get a false image of ourselves that we somehow managed to achieve the desired life according to other people’s views, even though it’s not real. With the virtual worlds appearance they now understand the real world as a spare and something irrelevant, until at least in one of the worlds (real or virtual) they live the desired life, in this case the virtual world, but just enough and satisfactorily to fool people in their immediate surroundings. Thus confirming the theory of Goffman that people really are actors playing roles in public but deep inside, far from other’s eyes, they act according to their true self. 

The virtual world is an opportunity for people who aren’t satisfied with their self to appear different before social network users. It’s like they have a copy of themselves in front of them where their views, behavior, life, style and looks are presented. And they are given the power to be the creators of their self. They have felt that they could not truly affect to change their true self because deep in their subconscious they know they are still a different person behind their mask used in public. But now they have the impression that they are the creators of their new persona who they make out of their taste, like a piece of clay shaped until they are satisfied with the final results. This is inspired by two things: Other people’s opinions and the ideal self;

Edited by Space Babe

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But which is the real self ?

The one we are not afraid to display on-line ?
Or the 'masks' we wear in decent society ?

Or is it the other way around ?

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8 minutes ago, MigL said:

But which is the real self ?

The one we are not afraid to display on-line ?
Or the 'masks' we wear in decent society ?

Or is it the other way around ?

People have only one real self, but it is their decision whether they will manifest it or not. This also depends on the acceptance of society. It is a known fact that most people want to feel accepted in society, or in other words, have the feeling that they belong somewhere. However, society does not accept all types of personalities and it often mocks some people for them trying to be what they truly are.

Therefore, the real self can be manifested in the real world, but only if it is accepted by society, or if the individual simply does not care what other people think of him. The other alternative is for the person to pretend to be someone else (that is, to manifest a personality that is acceptable or what is expected from him by society) in the real world, while the virtual world (often anonymous) gives him the chance for him to manifest his true self in a virtual environment where no one knows him in real life. That way, he can finally achieve the impression that he belongs somewhere.

Edited by Space Babe

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My 'self' must be in real life then.
Because I often feel unaccepted on this forum. :P

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21 minutes ago, MigL said:

My 'self' must be in real life then.
Because I often feel unaccepted on this forum. :P

But this could be your real self because the personal cost of no-acceptance is minimal, and that's possibly why you are the way you are on here. 

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3 hours ago, sci-man said:

why is it that some people act differently online versus in real life

Lack of social consequences despite being in a social setting while online, whereas IRL our poor behaviors are shunned and often result in being ostracized.

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On 1/15/2019 at 9:01 PM, Space Babe said:

People have only one real self, but it is their decision whether they will manifest it or not. This also depends on the acceptance of society. It is a known fact that most people want to feel accepted in society, or in other words, have the feeling that they belong somewhere. However, society does not accept all types of personalities and it often mocks some people for them trying to be what they truly are.

Therefore, the real self can be manifested in the real world, but only if it is accepted by society, or if the individual simply does not care what other people think of him. The other alternative is for the person to pretend to be someone else (that is, to manifest a personality that is acceptable or what is expected from him by society) in the real world, while the virtual world (often anonymous) gives him the chance for him to manifest his true self in a virtual environment where no one knows him in real life. That way, he can finally achieve the impression that he belongs somewhere.

I just want to point out what you already know but that I think deserves mentioning:

 

Sometimes it might be understood that you're implying (by saying an individual will often only show his true self online, where social acceptance is not that big an issue) violent gamers are actually very dangerous and would kill people if it wasn't for laws and social conduct. I just want to point out killing people in video games, for example, doesn't equate to a higher likelihood that someone will kill real people in real life (were it not for laws and social conduct). In my understanding, a virtual environment can't be compared to real life on equal grounds, because no one actually gets killed or physically hurt in a game, so anonymity isn't the only difference when we change from real life to online life. 

An individual killing people online is perhaps the equivalent of a tiger cub gnawing on their brother's ear. The tiger cub isn't planning on actually eating their brother, they're engaging in a playful practice of what is inherent to their nature. To kill. Humans too are inherently violent (to an extent). Especially men, who produce larger quantities of testosterone (which has been shown to be linked to increased aggression). 

I just wanted to clear that up to anyone reading this. 

Someone who often roleplays a villain might simply be seeking to experience the thrill that accompanies it without actually harming anyone. Empathy is an important factor influencing behavior, not just peer pressure or laws or social conduct. 

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5 hours ago, Notional said:

I just want to point out what you already know but that I think deserves mentioning:

I agree with your opinion, in general. It is undeniably true that the real world cannot be equally compared with the virtual world. There are many factors that influence our behavior and image that we display online.

When it comes to creating an image in the virtual world, the option of showing our true self is not the only possibility. On the contrary, it can also represent a chance for a person to manifest his ideal self - similar to an alter ego; A person can decide to manifest his ideal self in the virtual world in order to either create a false impression of someone who he is not, or to satisfy the perfect illusion that other people have of him.

Either way, it shows us that sometimes, when a person wants to be a better version of himself, but cannot achieve it from various reasons, he is willing to use the possibilities of the virtual profiles to lie himself and others that he has, subconsciously achieved his ideal self, which in reality is not true. 

When it comes to your example about the aggressive gamer, that is very different than a profile on social media where everyone can see the false or real image you put on display in the virtual reality.

In a virtual game, there are no profiles of the gamer's life, but just his method of playing, which by the way, is also manifested or performed by all the other gamers in the game - because that is how you beat the game and beating the game is the main goal of the gamers.

A gamer cannot act the same as a popular Instagram model, simply because their profiles are created for different purposes - and with that, they both act differently.

However, there might be a similarity in all of this, and the answer lies in the final goal that the person wants to achieve;

Namely, the Instagram model presents a perfect life in the virtual world and is influencing other people to be just like her. If there is a girl who is not popular and insecure, and she wants to change all that, will see what it takes (or at least what she thinks) to become popular and loved. In other words, she will try to act like the Instagram model.

In the other hand, we have a gamer who is playing an aggressive game and has the highest scores, always beating the game. He, directly or indirectly, influences the other gamers to play similar to him in order to get better at the game. So, if we have a gamer who is not very good at the game (he is slower, doesn't want to "kill" his fellow players), he will soon notice the best gamer and will try to act and play aggressively, just like him in order to achieve a higher score.

 

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20 hours ago, Space Babe said:

I agree with your opinion, in general. It is undeniably true that the real world cannot be equally compared with the virtual world. There are many factors that influence our behavior and image that we display online.

When it comes to creating an image in the virtual world, the option of showing our true self is not the only possibility. On the contrary, it can also represent a chance for a person to manifest his ideal self - similar to an alter ego; A person can decide to manifest his ideal self in the virtual world in order to either create a false impression of someone who he is not, or to satisfy the perfect illusion that other people have of him.

Either way, it shows us that sometimes, when a person wants to be a better version of himself, but cannot achieve it from various reasons, he is willing to use the possibilities of the virtual profiles to lie himself and others that he has, subconsciously achieved his ideal self, which in reality is not true. 

When it comes to your example about the aggressive gamer, that is very different than a profile on social media where everyone can see the false or real image you put on display in the virtual reality.

In a virtual game, there are no profiles of the gamer's life, but just his method of playing, which by the way, is also manifested or performed by all the other gamers in the game - because that is how you beat the game and beating the game is the main goal of the gamers.

A gamer cannot act the same as a popular Instagram model, simply because their profiles are created for different purposes - and with that, they both act differently.

However, there might be a similarity in all of this, and the answer lies in the final goal that the person wants to achieve;

Namely, the Instagram model presents a perfect life in the virtual world and is influencing other people to be just like her. If there is a girl who is not popular and insecure, and she wants to change all that, will see what it takes (or at least what she thinks) to become popular and loved. In other words, she will try to act like the Instagram model.

In the other hand, we have a gamer who is playing an aggressive game and has the highest scores, always beating the game. He, directly or indirectly, influences the other gamers to play similar to him in order to get better at the game. So, if we have a gamer who is not very good at the game (he is slower, doesn't want to "kill" his fellow players), he will soon notice the best gamer and will try to act and play aggressively, just like him in order to achieve a higher score.

 

Agreed, I don't have much to add.

 

If you're into doing research on this, I recommend looking into Roleplaying worlds online. Games like World of Warcraft have servers solely dedicated to roleplaying. Basically, everyone (or most players) adopt a role in a makeshift society. There are also many roleplaying scenarios in the game Second Life. One of the most obvious patterns is that players will usually be insecure people, unhappy with their real life, escaping into a virtual one. 

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On 2/12/2019 at 9:24 PM, Space Babe said:

I agree with your opinion, in general. It is undeniably true that the real world cannot be equally compared with the virtual world. There are many factors that influence our behavior and image that we display online.

When it comes to creating an image in the virtual world, the option of showing our true self is not the only possibility. On the contrary, it can also represent a chance for a person to manifest his ideal self - similar to an alter ego; A person can decide to manifest his ideal self in the virtual world in order to either create a false impression of someone who he is not, or to satisfy the perfect illusion that other people have of him.

Either way, it shows us that sometimes, when a person wants to be a better version of himself, but cannot achieve it from various reasons, he is willing to use the possibilities of the virtual profiles to lie himself and others that he has, subconsciously achieved his ideal self, which in reality is not true. 

When it comes to your example about the aggressive gamer, that is very different than a profile on social media where everyone can see the false or real image you put on display in the virtual reality.

In a virtual game, there are no profiles of the gamer's life, but just his method of playing, which by the way, is also manifested or performed by all the other gamers in the game - because that is how you beat the game and beating the game is the main goal of the gamers.

A gamer cannot act the same as a popular Instagram model, simply because their profiles are created for different purposes - and with that, they both act differently.

However, there might be a similarity in all of this, and the answer lies in the final goal that the person wants to achieve;

Namely, the Instagram model presents a perfect life in the virtual world and is influencing other people to be just like her. If there is a girl who is not popular and insecure, and she wants to change all that, will see what it takes (or at least what she thinks) to become popular and loved. In other words, she will try to act like the Instagram model.

In the other hand, we have a gamer who is playing an aggressive game and has the highest scores, always beating the game. He, directly or indirectly, influences the other gamers to play similar to him in order to get better at the game. So, if we have a gamer who is not very good at the game (he is slower, doesn't want to "kill" his fellow players), he will soon notice the best gamer and will try to act and play aggressively, just like him in order to achieve a higher score.

 

I think what you said is a pretty accurate representation of online personas. And perhaps the reason I shun any social online interaction beyond this site.

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15 hours ago, Notional said:

If you're into doing research on this, I recommend looking into Roleplaying worlds online. Games like World of Warcraft have servers solely dedicated to roleplaying. Basically, everyone (or most players) adopt a role in a makeshift society. There are also many roleplaying scenarios in the game Second Life. One of the most obvious patterns is that players will usually be insecure people, unhappy with their real life, escaping into a virtual one. 

I think I've previously mentioned that I wrote an article that was recently published in a scientific journal, regarding to a critical analysis of Charles Cooley's theory "Looking Glass Self" (1902), where I also mention the virtual world and people's various behavior based on their status in the real world.

However, It would be very interesting to actually conduct a research and possibly write a paper about this topic as well. 

Thank you so much for your recommendations, since I am not really a gamer girl and I don't have much knowledge about games... 

I completely agree with the last sentence of your comment about escaping the real world;  But I must say that every person is "escaping" from the real world and that does not have to necessarily mean into the virtual world. In other words, people often escape in their psychological world, were everything is an illusion, but they want to believe those illusions are a reality, trying to act like that in the real world. Here, rationality is sometimes an exception, as most of people's psychological illusions are not realistic or easily achievable for them.

Reality is often cruel, and in order for humans to cope with that, they have this habit of turning reality into an illusion, and vice versa. Although it is physically impossible to escape from reality as a concept of existence, people often mistaken their psychology as a different world, and that is not correct because psychology comes and is developed in our brain, and our brain is an essential part of our body which allows our existence on this planet in the first place.

Still, even when a person manifests and lives in a perfect illusion of his own creation, there is some conscious present at the back of his head, a consciousness that simply cannot be fooled with lies and self-manipulation. That is often that tiny voice which gives the person a dose of reality in order for him to not get carried away by his illusions and start acting like that in the real world.

10 hours ago, nevim said:

I think what you said is a pretty accurate representation of online personas. And perhaps the reason I shun any social online interaction beyond this site.

Thank you, nevim :) 

I complete agree with you, as I also don't have tendencies to use social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter...

My intention is not to offend anyone who uses social media, however my personal opinion is that they are a waste of time and have a very negative influence upon one person's self-image and confidence. In other words, I view social media as unrealistic worlds that are filled with illusions, which make people to often mistaken them as a reality.  

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@Space Babe

Your comments on reality v illusion really resonated with me. Haven’t really ever read it so succinctly.

Thanks for that. Sorry I cannot comment more - I’m just so tired at the moment.

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@nevim

I am positively surprised of your impression about my comments, and I appreciate that very much.

Especially since I am a newer member on this amazing forum...

Thank you

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On ‎1‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 8:40 PM, sci-man said:

why is it that some people act differently online versus in real life.

Interesting article concerning this topic: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180403-why-do-people-become-trolls-online-and-in-social-media

"New research is revealing that trolls live inside all of us – but that there are ways to defeat them and build more cooperative digital societies."

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On 1/15/2019 at 8:40 PM, sci-man said:

why is it that some people act differently online versus in real life...

Because they're pu**ies.

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19 hours ago, koti said:

Because they're pu**ies.

They are young dogs?

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Face to face interaction requires many skills and intangible attributes that everyone has various amounts of. Tone of voice, posture, ability to emote, symmetry of our facial features, confidence, in addition to what's actually being said all matter in person. Some people are simply better communicators. 

Then there are issues of desires. Some people have feelings they know on an intellectual level are unpopular, irrational, or perverse to some degree. They repress those feeling in favor of a facade they think others are more likely to approve of. 

I speculate that those who are poor communicators and or hide behind facades built to mask various desires or communication shortcomings are more likely to behave differently online than in person. I think they are the ones who are least able to express themselves and build up a variety of opinions and feelings they need an outlet for. Confident people with good communication skills can express themselves freely, even on sticky issues, and have less a need for an online alter ego. 

As for why those alter egos are so often villains I think its because it's the easiest way to get attention. Saying something legitimately thought provoking or intelligent requires more effort than insults. If a person had the ability to get attention via meaningful ideas they probably wouldn't be online seeking attention in the first place.  

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