The truth online


Most people think that we are not ourselves, when we are online. True? True. While we tend to fake most of what we say or do in the online space, especially in Social Media platforms – we somehow are more real than we would be in real life.

Most of our actions and utterances in real life depend on our immediate environs. The impact of where we are, whom we are with, and about whom we talk; all impacts on what we do and say. For example: saying ‘No’ face to face to a friend is harder than typing ‘No’ on a chat window, email, or even a tweet

According to John Suler, the ‘online disinhibition effect’ can be further divided into benign and toxic disinhibition (The Pyscology of Cyberspace – The Online Disinhibition http://users.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/disinhibit.html). Suler goes on to talk about six prime factors that influences the way we behave in the online space

1)   You don’t know me (Dissociative Anonymity)
2)   You Can’t see me (Invisibility)
3)   See you later (Asynchronicity)
4)   Its all in my head (Solipsistic Introjection)
5)   Its just a game (Dissociative Imagination)
6)   We are equals (minimizing authority)

The very idea that we are covered (masked by technology) makes us liberated (disinhibit). Even when we are in a platform where our online behaviour is the closest to our baseline (real) behaviour (like in Facebook)… Where our reactions and updates would mimic real life behaviour, we still would have instances where we reveal our true inner self. Be it a benign (dis)inhibition like sharing an inspirational quote or arm-chair activism or maybe a stronger reaction (toxic disinhibition) to any specific article or news with anti-social comments

As the tagline of X-files says “The truth is out there”


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