Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

True Digital Division and Online Personae

By farl in Culture
Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 10:01:51 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

How many of you have ever crossed that "Digital Divide" line? And I am not talking about the issues of social classes and their respective accesses to the internet, or any form of division based on race, gender, age, occupation and all the other fun "we don't discriminate" divisions and how they interact or don't with the internet. I am referring to what I see as the most basic of divisions in the digital world we are starting to live in, namely: "Real Life (RL)" versus "Online Life (OL)", and how your various personae interact with the two.

To me, the line is not between the two, but rather between those who consider that these are separate ideas versus those who have learned to integrate the two and establish a healthy mix of personae.

Clearly there is a vast difference between the two. Some people live more in one of the mediums than the other, be it in RL or OL. In my experience, it goes even further than this. People fixate between one and the other. They try to live as fully as possible in one of the mediums, and try to do their best to ignore the other.

RL extremists are the people you meet who go "I never use computers. I hate them." I am not talking about people who do not ever use computers because they either lack access to them or are truly ignorant of them. It is the people who are aware of them, who interact with them, and do their best to get rid of computers out of their lives. These people are the types that when you mention an interesting news story you saw online, or a funny email you got, or a great picture they can see at a certain website (or heaven forbid - a great game you were playing on your computer), they roll their eyes at you and you can watch them turn their focus and interest away from you and your "EEK! IT'S A COMPUTER" story. This to me is very stupid (to be blunt). Computers play an integral part in our lives, are used unobtrusively in more and more appliances that we use everyday, and help us run our lives in (sometimes) faster, more efficient and better ways.

OL extremists are the other end in our society. Most people have a really good idea of the basic meaning of this. Picture a person who works so much in front of their computer, that they lack basic face-to-face social skills (please note that there is a difference between being socially skillful online and socially skillful when dealing with people to their face). While these people are quite often very intelligent and motivated people, they spend so much time staring at their screen, they fail to look out their windows. Again, I feel that this is very stupid (being blunt here again). While computers play an integral part in our lives (and no, this does not contradict the statement in the last paragraph), they are not the be-all-and-end-all of our existence. Sunlight is a good thing. So are beaches, mountains, forests, parks, open sky and numerous other things that OL people tend to miss out on.

Then there are those that are not extremists, but still firmly planted on one end or another. To differentiate between these two, you can compare the difference between their real life character (persona) and their online persona.

Real life characters tend to be firmly in the belief that somehow the Internet is "evil/bad/not good", but that it is a necessary evil. It can be used when it is necessary, but there is little to no development of any form of character that deviates from how they live life in the "real world". This is not necessarily bad, but more of an Ostrich Syndrome (a bad phrase created by yours truly to mean those who hide their head in the sand in hopes that the evil/problem will go away).

Online persona are just the opposite. People have multiple personae depending on how they are interacting with the Internet. For example, on #kuro5hin (IRC) a person might be very quiet and not inclined to say much, while on kuro5hin.org (WWW), they are commenting machines. Similarly, when the same person goes to another site, or forum board, or online MUD, or other such, they quite often have different personalities for each and every point of contact to the Internet. Again, this is not necessarily bad, but more of an indication that the person is lacking in "Central Grounding" (once again a bad phrase created by yours truly to mean those who are wishy-washy in their characters. They have no firm understanding of who they actually are, and therefore lack a consistent base to interact from).

These are the general four types of people that you encounter in life, be it in person or online. Many arguments have been given for the pros and cons of each of the four positions, and a fairly significant line has been drawn between "Real Life" and "Online Life". This is commonly considered to be the infamous Digital Divide that separates our society into two distinct groups. In my extensive experience using computers, being online, playing in the sun, living on a beach (well two blocks from it anyway), all of the above four character types have some serious flaws in them. Furthermore, the definition being sponsored is flawed too. The real division comes between a) the four above-mentioned categories as one group, and b) those of us (and note I include myself in this second group) who understand the differences, and have learned to truly merge the two mediums together (from this point I will refer to the first group as the DDP - digitally divide (deficient) people - while the second group of people are the DAP - digital age people - in order to make it easier to follow whom I am talking about).

Being a "product of the Digital Age" (please excuse the cliché) can be a massive advantage in dealing with other people. DAP who can interact easily, comfortably and skillfully in both "Real Life" and "Online Life" have a massive edge on other (DDP) people. You can identify DAP like this who understand the fundamental emphasis of this interaction: That you recognize the fact that there are these two mediums, you interact in both worlds, and that you recognize that your interaction in both worlds is DIFFERENT. Most people (and all DDP) do not make this important distinction. They believe that their online persona is just an extension of the real life character (or even worse, that their real life character is an extension of their online persona - watch out for these types of crazy people). For the DDP, they want to be as consistent in both mediums as they can, and as such, I believe they stifle themselves and their creativity (should they have any). DAP tend to allow variances in these two mediums, and allow for both sets of personae to affect each other without running rampant.

The best example of this I can give is: have you ever met some of the people you interact with online in real life? And I am not talking about the people you go to school with, or your close friends, but rather those people that live far away, be it a city or two away, or on the other side of the world. If you have, do these people meet your "expectations" of what you expected them to be? If you meet a DDP person, they never meet your expectations, because while they might be exactly how they are online, there is nothing more to them, no depth of character per se. On the other hand, when you meet someone who is a DAP, there is more to them than you expect (of course this is not always good, but always more interesting). I have met plenty of people from my online interactions in real life, and have never regretted one to date. From the server I used to run, I had a standard motto "If you are in San Diego, and you need a place to stay, you are welcome!" This is just how I have always lived.

It becomes a difference on where you place the emphasis of your life, or to be more explicit, to where you believe you truly are free to express who you are comfortably without worrying about being consistent between the two mediums, but at the same time interacting in both mediums.

I would be interested to see whether or not you agree with how I have divided the Digital Divide, and what your experiences are with meeting people in person that you have known from a prior online experience.



Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


I have met people in both mediums
o They were "nicer" in person 12%
o They were "the same" in person as online 22%
o They were "complete idiots" in person 9%
o I have never met someone from online in person 25%
o They were different, but not better or worse, in person. 30%

Votes: 72
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o farl@sketc hwork.com
o www.sketch work.com
o Also by farl

Display: Sort:
True Digital Division and Online Personae | 31 comments (29 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Any psychologists here? (4.00 / 2) (#1)
by jesterzog on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 05:12:14 PM EST

Are there any psychologists hanging around k5?

Whenever I see something like this I always think of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is an extention of Jungian psychology. (Keirsey temperament sorter which is an online approximation of the real MBTI test, as well as lots more information, can be found here.)

It's based around splitting personality into 4 scales and giving each person one of two options on each scale. (Introversive/Extroversive, iNtuitive/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, Perceiving/Judging). Since I worked out I was an INTP a few years ago and read a bit more (there's stacks of stuff around the web), it's really helped me relate to other people by understanding how they're different.

In a lot of ways it's just a convenient method of slotting people into 16 boxes and obviously it's just one of lots of psychological theories that are being argued as much as in any other profession. As far as this story is concerned though, I think it's quite relevant to hilight just how much people are genuinely different from each other.

For example, people with strong online personalities might be more likely to be intuitive introverts, and it's often much easier to get to know an introvert through writing because they express themselves much more.

jesterzog Fight the light

16 Slots (2.66 / 3) (#2)
by farl on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 05:19:00 PM EST

I have done this test a few times, but i dont remember how it came out for me.

In reference to some of the points you make, I tend to be able to express my self equally well through writing and verbal skills. I find that most people have very poor written skills, and unfortunately equally poor verbal skills, but all in all, verbal tends to be stronger.

[ Parent ]
type distribution (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by jesterzog on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 05:34:35 PM EST

Well they're not even categories. (I think roughly 70% of people qualify as extroversive.) There's also a big difference between the number of Sensing/iNtuitive.

All four IN?? groups put together, which incidently make up a significant part of the IT sector, cover about 4-5% of the population. (More than that on many of the web polls around for obvious reasons.)

It's hardly something that should be taken really seriously, but IME it's a good indicator to help with understanding other people as well as myself a bit more.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
K5 story on Myer-Briggs (4.50 / 2) (#3)
by Dacta on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 05:34:01 PM EST

Back in April, K5 had a story on Myer-Briggs personalities, and had a link to an online test.

There were a very high proportion of INTJs on K5 at that time (much higher than the general populations ~10%).

There's some interestring stats at http://www.keirsey.com/scripts/stats.cgi

[ Parent ]
Thats to be expected (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by Simon Kinahan on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 11:34:56 AM EST

People who work in technical roles tend to be NTs, and being so they also tend to be introverts. None of these are hard and fast rules, but you expect a much higher proportion on NTs in the online world that in real life.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
That test always irritaded me (4.00 / 3) (#10)
by Smiling Dragon on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 10:01:23 PM EST

As the subject says I never did like the Jung temperament thing. I tend to be a bit introverted most of the time with patches of extraverted behaviour from time to time. It's too 'one way or the other' I found. I could do a couple of different Jungian tests and come up with radically different scores in each.

I just don't believe it's that simple to classify.

However, I see what you mean by the tendancy for the introvert in RL to go the way of the extravert in OL. But that's not really a personality thing, more of a human desire to be what we are not. When shown this opportunity to make a fresh go of meeting people without having to fear the consequences, we often try out the 'other life'.

-- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
[ Parent ]
Re: That test always irritaded me (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by forgey on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 08:36:54 AM EST

I agree.

I find tests like this annoying because they only offer you two choices for each question. What happens if how I would answer that question isn't an option? All this type of test does is pidgeon-hole everyone into specific categories. That is something I just don't like.


[ Parent ]
About that test (none / 0) (#23)
by jesterzog on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 06:41:39 PM EST

It wasn't the test so much that I was commenting on as the theory. The theory came first, and an official MBTI test can only be administered by a specially trained psychologist using two way communication - for good reasons including what you've just mentioned.

The Keirsey sorter is what David Keirsey made up so he could sell a few more books. All it can ever possibly do is give a pointer for people towards what type of person they're likely to be, and obviously it's not always accurate either. The reason it's so popular is because it can be published online, whereas the MBTI can't.

As for the theory itself, it's not really there to slot people into boxes. (Even though many people interpret it that way.) It's intended to describe how people are simply different, I guess with the underlying idea being that some people are better suited to some jobs while badly suited to others, and trying to change people through force or conditioning simply doesn't always work.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
Poll, and being a dog (3.66 / 3) (#5)
by rusty on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 06:01:28 PM EST

I had to add an option to the poll, because it was glaringly lacking a "just different" option.

Besides that, this is a really interesting question. I tend to keep the same online identity most of the time, but it's not really quite the same as my RL identity. I tend to be a much better writer than speaker, so I think I am able to express myself better online, because I have time to compose what I say, and see it in front of me before I "say" it. I'm not as good at doing that in person, and sometimes I don't say something that I'm thinking, because I can't quite phrase it quickly enough.

But on the whole, I am pretty similar in both spheres. And actually, most of the people I've met that I've also known online tend to be pretty similar in both. There are the outliers, who are really much different, but they seem to be exceptions.

I think the truism about being a dog on the internet is actually not as true as we all think it is. It is hard to construct a convincing identity online that doesn't belie who you really are in any way. If you're a dog, and you spend enough time online, most people are going to realize you're a dog eventually.

Not the real rusty

Ah yes.. (none / 0) (#9)
by driph on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 09:58:52 PM EST

"I'm not as good at doing that in person, and sometimes I don't say something that I'm thinking, because I can't quite phrase it quickly enough."

Good point, I didn't take that into consideration when I wrote my response...The time delay in online communication is beneficial, it allows me to organize my thoughts a bit more. As a speech teacher of mine told me while I was still in school, I tend to speak as I think - in fragments. I usually understand quite well what I am thinking, it just occassionally takes a few to arrange the structure in a way that others will understand as well.

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
Online "fake" indentities (none / 0) (#14)
by spiralx on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 05:51:28 AM EST

It is hard to construct a convincing identity online that doesn't belie who you really are in any way.

I'll agree with that, because I've got experiance of creating an online identity that isn't like me at all. On /. I have a troll account called Jon Erikson, and his user bio is as following:

I was born in Kansas 31 years ago and was educated at Bob Jones University and am proud to be a decent, God-fearing Christian who firmly believes in the inerrant nature of the Bible and Conservatism as a way of life. After becoming disgusted with the degenerate nature of modern America and the insidious control of Liberals in the American Government, I moved to London where I work as a top-flight IT consultant for NPO Technologies advising businesses on setting up their mission-critical enterprise platforms for b2b and b2c solutions.

Nothing like me at all, and attempting to pull off such a persona can be pretty tricky - you really do have to watch how you act constantly. I'd like to think of myself as a reasonable person, and if I'm not careful my posts tend to get more and more conciallitory rather than outrageous.

Who you really are is such a fundamental and unconsciouss part of yourself that attempting to construct an online persona radically different from who you are is incredibly difficult. I'd say that in a lot of cases where this seems to be true it's more a matter of confidence than a real difference - a lot of people feel more confident in expressing themselves over the internet than they do IRL, and so can come off as being totally different.

But the few people I've met online and then in the real world to tend to be pretty similar. Sometimes a bit quieter, but no radical changes of personality ;)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

But what about... (4.25 / 4) (#8)
by driph on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 09:33:35 PM EST

So where do I fall into your grouping?

I'm pretty much the same person on or offline. I spend a lot of time online, but I also enjoy going out. I've been online since my BBS days in the 80s, and have amassed a great deal of screentime. I spend a good portion of my day online, for work and pleasure. However, I've also been a body painter at a club, got into the afterhours scene for a while, had parties at my house, etc.

I'd go nuts if I couldn't leave the house and/or interact with others. I'd also go nuts if I couldnt get online.

I tend to view the internet as a cross between a communication tool and a place to go. I have no desire to give someone a false sense of who I am...hell, I have a difficult enough time keeping track of who I am PERIOD, let alone managing upkeep on several false identities. :]

Your breakdown may work for some people, but I have a feeling I'm not the only one here who doesn't quite fit into it.

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
Me Too! (had too :) (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by Smiling Dragon on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 10:12:12 PM EST

Excuse the corny subject but I couldn't resist.

I couldn't agree with you more, it's just another communications tool. I wonder how different it is to the long discussions you'd see carved into the desks in lecture theatres when a bored student wrote some random thought and another, later, comments and so on and so forth. You didn't get 'Desk Age People' and 'Desk Deficient People'.

I know it's not quite the same thing but it's kind of the way I view/use the internet. My 'OL Self' is just me sitting at a computer, I tend to appear differently as my writing style is a little different from my speaking one. It's just like the way people speaking a second language tend to be different from when they comumicate in their native tongue. For starters, it's a different bit of brain is it not?

-- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
[ Parent ]
I'm just me... (3.50 / 2) (#11)
by mindstrm on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 10:09:44 PM EST

I think that, though people might hide personal facts online, they are far more truthful about what they think about things, and how they feel about things.

I tend to have a better working relationship with those whom I speak with digitally in addition to verbally, as opposed to those whom I only communicate with verbally.

... Who else could I be? (none / 0) (#17)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 10:49:37 AM EST

I've never understood people who say "be yourself". I always am - online, or off. Do my socialization skills need work? Heh. That's like saying the Titanic needs work. But that's the same on-line or off, and at this point of my life I'm comfortable with that.

In my teen years, BBS's didn't really exist, let alone the net - I found my voice through D&D. (No A, no 2nd edition, no third edition. Just D&D). Other people find their voice in a guitar, or a poetry slam. People who come to life in digital situations are simply discovering people who think/feel like they do - they could have had the same experience in college, or in a coffee bar, sooner or later.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
x (3.00 / 2) (#13)
by mattc on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 04:52:53 AM EST

To me, it doesn't matter if it is online or offline, I act just about the same. The main difference is the topic I discuss with the people I meet. If I am on a MUD (which I haven't been for years) I would discuss the game or just general chat.. if I am in an IRC chat room that is about philosophy I will chat with people about that topic, or if I am in a room related to computers I will chat about that instead. If I'm at work I talk to people about work-topics and some general chit chat. ... I wouldn't talk about philosophy at work because many of my thoughts are not "mainstream" and could get me in trouble.. you have more freedom online... besides that, I find online and offline relationships similar in most ways.

One thing that particularly annoys me is people online who say they are something-or-other and are outright lying. I've had this happen MANY times to me.. especially on IRC, less so on other forums. I've come to the point now where I just assume everyone online is lying to me when it comes to details about their personal lives. Every woman is a man, every rich man is poor, every expert is a novice, etc. :-)

I don't have a problem with anonymity online.. in fact I'd be posting this anonymously if it were possible.. but there is a big difference between wanting to be anonymous and simply lying about who you are.

"Central Grounding" not a good thing (3.75 / 4) (#16)
by zakalwe on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 10:05:19 AM EST

Similarly, when the same person goes to another site, or forum board, or online MUD, or other such, they quite often have different personalities for each and every point of contact to the Internet. Again, this is not necessarily bad, but more of an indication that the person is lacking in "Central Grounding"
This isn't an "online" thing. People always act differently in different contexts than others, often extremely so, whether they notice or not. People generally have a different "phone voice" to when they converse face to face. And do you really think you talk to your frinds in the same way as to your work colleagues, or to your family?

People have always had different 'public personas' depending on who and how they are talking. The net just provides another set of different ways to communicate, each with their own differences, and hence different personas. If you really think you have this "Central Grounding", and behave the same between the two mediums, then you're pretty unusual, and I'd disagree that it's a good thing. The ability to switch persona is a social skill, and not "lacking a consistent base to interact from." The most socially adept people are usually those who can best blend in with the group.

Bleh. (none / 0) (#18)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 10:59:34 AM EST

The most socially adept people are usually those who can best blend in with the group.

And that's a good thing? I believe some of the words used to describe such people are: "hypocrites", "two-faced", "weasels", ooo here's a good one: "suits".

It is certainly true that people project different facets of themselves in different situations - I don't speak to a four year old like I do to a programmer, and I don't behave the same way in clown make up as I do in a technical review - but I'm always *me* and I will never betray who I am simply to fit into a group.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
We all do it to some extent, usually unconsciously (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by zakalwe on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 12:16:35 PM EST

I don't mean that people 'betray' themselves to fit in. In most people its completely unconscious. In any social group, generally people will adjust their habits to fit in. They'll pick up the 'accepted' topics of communication, the in-jokes, and the general social 'etiquette' of the group. This is coming across as very cold and manipulative sounding, but really we all do this unconsciously

People do behave differently, and do present a different image of themselves, but that doesn't mean they're not themselves just that the way they present themselves changes.

Yes, I'm sure there are manipulative people who are skilled at faking it - but then who ever said social skills were related to niceness. The fact that we have names for them like "weasel" and "two-faced" does show their existance. (Though I don't see what "suit" has to do with it. Surely thats more indicative of a tendency to seem completely alien than to blend into a group?)

[ Parent ]

Identities (2.66 / 3) (#21)
by Beorn on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 04:12:25 PM EST

In my opinion, everyone have one core personality, and the only difference between a real life identity and an online identity is that they reveal different sides of your personality.

You're wrong to place all online identities in one category, and all real life identities in another. Every single form of communication reveals a different side of you. When I talk face to face, I'm unpleasantly quiet until something gets me started, then I start rambling incoherently, (desperately missing a delete button). On the phone, I'm very friendly, even with strangers. With audiences I talk clearly and enthusiastically.

There are differences in online communication too. I write a bit rantingly on Usenet, very rational and rhetorical on K5, and IRC is one of the few mediums where I make casual jokes and they're actually funny. In e-mail I get personal, (and in the K5 diaries I seem to end up whining.)

The point is, I never reveal the same part of my personality in two different mediums. It's not because I don't *have* one, but perhaps parts of it are filtered out by the technical attributes of the medium, and the social circumstances. I was on a BBS with a chat mode where you were *expected* to write grammatically correct. The mood was very different from IRC, much more formal, and drily ironic rather than emotional.

I'm usually disappointed when I meet online friends in real life, because the part of them I like is often invisible or less accessible in RL. It's also very confusing, I have to tell myself again and again that this face is associated with that nick, and I can't believe it. This goes the other way too. It's usually worth a try, though, I've never lost friends by meeting them in RL.

Someone mentioned the Keirsey test. Like many of you I'm IN-something, but that doesn't really mean anything, because the categories were defined in a time when people like me would *have* to be introvert, because I wouldn't have mastered the primary mediums of the time very well. But the net is a very social and extrovert medium, I've gained too many friends here to believe anything else.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

not the Keirsey test (none / 0) (#24)
by jesterzog on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 06:54:56 PM EST

Sorry, I'm about to be really pedantic so everyone shut your eyes. :)

I wasn't trying to hilight the Keirsey sorter (and it's a sorter, not a test) as much as I was the MBTI theory. There's a big difference - notably that the MBTI can only be administered by a trained psychologist, and the theory goes quite deep about how different types of people can act differently in different situations. (There's no reason that introverts can't go out and have a lot of friends, for example.)

Keirsey on the other hand is nothing more than a sorter intended to help a guy sell more books, but it's free and therefore a good starting point. I think this contradicts what you actually said, but I hope you don't mind me making a small clarification.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
MBTI vs Keirsey (2.00 / 2) (#26)
by Beorn on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 03:35:29 AM EST

I think this contradicts what you actually said, but I hope you don't mind me making a small clarification.

Mind? I love being contradicted. :)

I only know of MBTI from the Keirsey sorter, which I've used online a few times and always got the same result, even after some big personal changes. So I trust it to ask the right questions, but I don't trust the interpretations, which sounds to me like their written by an astrologist.

Perhaps the MBTI theory itself is more scientific. But of all these personality types you listed somewhere else (introversive/extroversive, intuitive/sensing, thinking/feeling, perceiving/judging), every single one applies to me. I realize these aren't absolutes, just guidelines, but perhaps this is a case where the map doesn't fit the terrain, and shouldn't be taken very literally.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

More about Jungian stuff (none / 0) (#28)
by jesterzog on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 03:23:56 PM EST

Actually that was supposed to say "I don't think" (stupid cut & paste typos) but apparently it did anyway. :)

Your view is perfectly justified. It's one variation of one perspective of looking at people out of lots of perspectives, and psychologists argue as much as any other scientific profession. (I'm not a psychologist beyond an introductory course, btw.) Personally I'm not a fan of slotting people into boxes either because everyone's a lot more unique than that.

I do think it's quite important in some ways though. Before Jungian psychology started to get recognised (around the 1950's I think but it was developed much earlier), the main view was that it was possible to condition anyone to be like anything by sticking them in a box and electrocuting them with certain stimulus'. So if you didn't fit into social norms, psychologists might aim to do exactly that, although probably metaphorically.

One of the main ideas in Jungian psychology (which MBTI is derived from) is that people can simply be different to the point where no amount of conditioning will change them what they're like - even if it changes their actions.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
On the other hand (none / 0) (#30)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:48:25 AM EST

one of the things that makes me attach some level of credibility to the personality sorter is that i've taken different versions of the test, in multiple languages, over the course of years, and *always* gotten the same result --- which means that it's consistent across the board and not the result of random fluctuations in mood, etc.

[ Parent ]
flawed dichotomy (2.66 / 3) (#22)
by goosedaemon on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 05:23:03 PM EST

I try to regard the internet as being the same as any other communication medium like speech or the phone or writing. I mean, why don't we separate it at "book-life" and "real life"? Was the author I read the way I expected him to be? Was my colleague's writing the way I expected it to be?

That said, I'm guilty of using "IRL" to refer to non-computer life.

"On Wheels" identity? (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by Luke Scharf on Thu Nov 23, 2000 at 11:00:48 PM EST

I tend to look at my computer as a tool in about the same way I look at my car as a tool. Sure, it allows my life to be different, but it doesn't change me.

Do people have "On Wheels" and "On Foot" identities? Nobody today suggests such a thing, although a trip on the Capitol Beltway tends to make me hope otherwise... :-)

I heard of "OL" and "RL" from AOL'ers, not from professionals. After I'd been working in the computer industry (repair & tech support) for about four years.

Most of the people I've come in contact with who've made a career out of computer stuff see the bright shining machine on our desks as a tool - useful for many jobs, and fun to play with. Just like a telephone or an automobile. You leave it behind when you walk away - unless there's an interesting problem you're trying to solve, in which case you hopefully try to churn out a solution.

A tool's a tool. This sounds like an earlier discussion, but machanics and mechanical engineers do with cars what computer repair guys and software engineers do with computers.

<flame recipient="author of story">If you have trouble keeping your identity straight when you write an e-mail, pick up the phone, or (assuming you're old enough to drive) get in the driver's seat of a car, I'd suggest getting mental help.</flame>

Paradox (2.00 / 4) (#27)
by Iago on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 05:29:45 AM EST

There are two types of people. Those who catagorize people into broad "types," and those who realize that each person they meet is a unique individual who cannot be so easily catogorized. Hmm...Don't be like me. And get a "RL."

BTW, in much the same way that drugs and real life are not mutually exclusive, "OL" and "RL" are not mutually exclusive. "OL" is a (minor) part of "RL."

How I vew computers... (3.50 / 2) (#29)
by jsmaby on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 11:16:05 PM EST

I actually hate computers. I think they are a miserable replacement for real life, and can't wait to rid my life of them. Amusingly enough, though, I spend all my time in front of the things, spend all my money on them (I have 5 at the moment), and appear to enjoy it. I just love contradictions. I even consider myself quite proficient in using computers -- I know more about them than most of the computer scientists at my university, and I'm a chemistry guy. Sure I would like to go out by the river and read some Emerson, but instead I find myself curling up in a chair reading about Perl.

As for my OL personality, I think it's pretty much identical to my RL personality. I tend to be a little more humerous and verbose online, but that has carried over to real life for me over the years as well (I'm no longer bully food like I was in high school). All in all, I think I like my OL personality better, but consider it a stepping stone in improving myself in RL.

Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
That's how I met my wife. (none / 0) (#31)
by Denjiro on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 06:03:05 AM EST

To make the story short and concise we met through ICQ. I work midnight tech support and online a lot so I left ICQ open to receive random chat requests. We chatted off and on for over a year, just friends(She had a steady boyfriend most of that year.). She was flying to visit her family around Christmas and had a layover at my local airport, so we arranged to meet. No expectations or anything. Due to the airline screwing up the layover turned out to be overnight. We went out to dinner and talked all night in her hotel room. We just kinda clicked in person. She moved in with me about a month later, and we were married a few months after that. We've been married over a year now and things are still great. I think part of the reason things went so well is we already knew each other from the year of chatting. So all that was left to be sorted out was the in person chemistry and to find out if in fact we both were honestly representing ourselves in our online personas.

True Digital Division and Online Personae | 31 comments (29 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!