Donning the mask of a few pixels, the anonymity of the digital age allows you to masquerade your identity in every way imaginable. The most obvious examples are Catfishing — using another person’s photos to deceive your followers about your appearance.
But there are more subtle nuances that come into play, as well.
With a screen and miles of land or sea stretching between you and the Keyboard Karen, individuals on the internet find comfort and safety in this blanket of anonymity.
In fact, despite constant reports of online identity theft, cyber crimes, and headlines like “Nearly 90% of the world’s internet users are being monitored,” Pew Research Center reports that 37 percent of internet users believe it’s possible to be completely anonymous online.
This digital barrier channels up courage in the form of brash personalities and behavior. Those who are ruthless, uncouth internet trolls could very well be the neighborhood Ned Flanders in real life.
Those who were around for the early days of the internet might remember how commonplace such toxic, unfiltered language was. And that’s not to say it’s non-existent today — but the looming threat of “being canceled” has certainly whipped some people into shape.
A Brief Intermission: How Internet Usage Correlates with Personality
Since the dawn of the world wide web, researchers have made a gallant effort to understand how human personality influences internet usage.
In a Frontiers in ICT journal review, the authors cite various studies that observed links between Big Five personality trait models and online behavior.
For context, the Big Five personality traits are:
The referenced studies looked at online behavior such as:
- How they use the internet (i.e. for gaming, socialization, finances, education, etc…)
- Duration of phone calls and text message conversations
- Duration of specific online activities (e-mailing, reading blogs, maintaining blogs, etc…)
- Duration of overall internet usage
- Personal information posted online
- Self-reported uses of Facebook
- Number of likes and retweets
Across a decade’s worth of research, the overarching consensus is extraversion and neuroticism correlate with how individuals communicate online and how much time they spend online.
For example, those who are highly extroverted tend to use the internet to keep expanding their social circles. Whereas those who are high in neuroticism tend to use the internet anonymously for personal expression.
Those who are high in neuroticism also tend to prefer posting to online communities, as opposed to direct one-on-one interaction.
In other words, there are a bunch of overly-friendly and uptight individuals roaming the internet simultaneously.
Although prior research has supported the idea that social networking platforms are an “extension” of one’s offline identity, more recent research reveals paradoxes in online vs. offline behavior.
Internet People =/= Real Life People
“Those low in emotional stability tend to spend more time online to make themselves as attractive as possible.”— “Do Instagram Profiles Accurately Portray Personality? An Investigation Into Idealized Online Self-Presentation” (2019)
While there’s probably a real person somewhere behind that screen (unless you’ve somehow been communicating with an AI this whole time), who someone is online can vary drastically from who they are in person.
A study cited in a Frontiers in Psychology review found those who exhibit higher private self-awareness and lower public self-awareness are more likely to engage in “spontaneous online self-disclosure.”
It’s theorized that a lack of social pressure online gives people more freedom to express themselves… So maybe that’s why the Ned Flanders of your neighborhood is actually the king of sending random dick pics online.
While their review focused on how people present an “idealized” version of themselves on Instagram (and how this “idealized self” doesn’t correlate with their true self), our personal experience as sexperts has found a parallel truth for the darkest, grimiest corners of the internet: people tend to be more hostile and clingy in this realm than they would be in real life.
And much of this is clearly owed to the lack of societal norms in the digital space to prevent such illicit behavior from arising.
Think about it: if you whipped out your monster dong in real life five seconds after meeting someone, your ass would land in the slammer.
But online? It’s a wham-bam-no-time-for-a-thank-you-ma’am. Internet romances take off at rocket speed only to crash and burn before they leave the atmosphere.
Yet, despite the revolving door of digital dongs and clickbait clitorises, the squires of these remote romances tend to be far more clingy than others.
Once you fuck with someone — whether it’s in a romantic or platonic context — they just keep coming back.
No matter how many new profiles you start, no matter how many times you block them, the people you encounter online are like herpes: they’re going to keep cropping up when you least expect it for the rest of your life.
Rude Awakenings For Children of the Internet
We’re coming into an age where many young adults have engaged with the internet in some way or another throughout their entire lives.
Internet friends are now pretty much the norm, but the matter of integrating your online relationships with your real-life relationships remains hairy: I think it’s safe to say most individuals would probably prefer to keep their internet lives separate from their “real ones.”
That’s a rude awakening for children of the internet. This online life they could’ve cultivated for themself has a teen doesn’t just end. It has to somehow grow with them as they transition into adulthood… YIKES.
Furthermore, the raging disparities between how people communicate online and in-person are another rude awakening for children of the internet.
With cocks, balls, titties, and asses available within seconds of a few keyboard strokes, it’s shocking when you re-emerge into society after solely engaging with the internet. You quickly realize that people are not as promiscuous or bold in-person.
Relationships, in the real world, are much more distant, as well. Most people take a moment to know you first before hashing out the innermost personal details of their life. Many people would at least like to know your name before shagging, too.
And perhaps the most astonishing revelation is most people are far less critical in person than they are online. While telling someone to “KYS” seems like NBD online, that is highly, highly uncalled for in real life.
In fact, many people are sickeningly polite face-to-face, waiting until you at least leave the room before they start critiquing your personality like they’re Gordon Ramsey and you’re just a piece of meat on “Hell’s Kitchen.”
Who you are online might be an extension of who you are in-person — or, perhaps you’ve adorned yourself in the cloak of an internet persona. Or maybe your most prominent traits engulf the more subtle nuances of your personality.
In any case, how you engage with the internet could haunt you for the rest of your life. Therefore, it isn’t just your online activity you should be conscientious about. You should be mindful of who you associate yourself with online, too. Your old profile may be gone, but it still lives on in whoever you were friends with at that time.
So next time you’re feeling lonely, why bother with the risk and hassle of social media? Just head on over to Chic Sex Shop to fulfill your needs!