Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Why Don't They See Me?

Following on from yesterday's blog, the whole topic of people being less accountable for the things that they do online due to hiding behind an online personality, an anonymous one, that means they feel that the way they interact with the rest of the internet does not matter.

Firstly, this little old blog has almost reached 800 page views! This makes me excited, and a number I never thought it would reach. I wondered when I started this if anyone would read it, what would I write (something I still struggle with!), and what would be the point of it all.

It has only been a month, but regardless of how many people may or may not read my ramblings, it is nice to actually share them!

Which brings me back to my original point - my online persona. However, I'm going to flip the topic slightly - in my case, my online persona and personality, while it is a direct representation of who I am, it is also who I wish I could be in real life, with the people who actually know me and see me day to day.

In game I'm this fearless warrior (or hunter, or druid, or mage - you get the drift). The possibilities are endless, I regularly interact with people I enjoy spending time with, I can be open and not worry about things as life is peachy.

In real life, the picture is not so rosy. I have friends and family, but none of them know me to the extent my gaming friends know me. The community of people that I interact with online and the things I have learnt about myself as a person are irrelevant to them, its only a game and surely it doesn't matter if I have to stop the activity I am doing with 2/5/9/24 other people, it's just a game, a game that can't possibly teach me anything.

I am my online personality, and while I have now grown comfortable with my real identity being connected with my online activities and personality, I still need to learn how to allow the things I have learned online and the experiences I have gained from interacting with such a wide range of people from all backgrounds, countries and cultures to reflect within my non-game life.

Do I perhaps use the game as an escape from some of the real life issues I'm having, perhaps I do. But I would not be the person I am today without those experiences from in game being combined with the experiences I have had outside the game.

In May I attended the wedding of two of the best people you could want to meet, I have been friends with these two for many years, we have fought dragons together, we have consoled each other through failed relationships.

Without the creation of my online persona and this game that we all love, I would never have met these fantastic people, nor have been able to share the most special day in their life.

So a question for you people that do read - how much of your online personality is actually reflected within your everyday life?


  1. When I was young, I chose a screen name on AOL (yes, that dates me) that would reflect what trait I wanted to exemplify: I added the word "gentle" to the beginning of the name because I wanted people to see me as such. It was at a time in my life where I needed to consciously make a choice to be gentle. Due to some awful experiences with peers in school (we're talking severe harassment and bullying), I would get home angry and exhausted, and as a result I wasn't always very nice to my siblings. It wasn't their fault, and I've since spent years trying to make up for that and reconnect positively with the two of them (which is going pretty darn well, by the way). I realized what was happening at about age 20, right when AOL was huge, and I made a decision that I wasn't going to be like that anymore; hence *choosing* to be gentle. Being online allowed me to just *be* gentle from the get-go; no one there knew anything about me until I told them, but they saw my screen name and already had the impression of me that I wanted to give. I got to practice being Gentle me until it was more second nature and less persona. I'm not perfect, mind you- I still have patterns of behavior that I'm not sure will ever go away. But I know enough now to be able to nip any "bad" behavior in the bud, most of the time, much like any other person.

    Now I try to be just who I am, online and off. I really believe there are a couple of Golden Rules: 1) Treat others how you would like to be treated. 2) Treat yourself as well as you treat others. I can say that I use that as a basis for my behavior every day, on Earth or on Azeroth, or Twitter, or Facebook...or anywhere. However, what people who don't consistently interact with "perfect strangers" online don't always understand is that my online life has really helped me to grow as a person. It's made me a better teacher, a better musician, a better gamer...a better human. So, really, there's just me, in-game or out. :)

  2. Thank you for the comment :) I'm glad someone else has learned to combine the two ^^